Arts charity IdeasTap has announced it is to close. In June the South East London organisation will cease its work helping early-career artists, filmmakers and writers to find funding, work experience, training and jobs in the creative industries.
The Peter de Haan Charitable Trust, which funds IdeasTap, has run out of money and attempts to secure alternative sources of funding from government or corporate sponsors have failed.
IdeasTap has nearly 200,000 members across the UK receiving its services for free. The charity has given away more than £2.3m in funding and mentoring to its members since it was set up in 2008.
Peter de Haan, the businessman who founded IdeasTap, wrote in a letter to members: “I am the bearer of sad news. On 2 June 2015, IdeasTap will shut its doors. It is a painful day for me, and for the whole IdeasTap team.”
He added: “If running IdeasTap has taught me one thing it is that we have an incredible pool of creative talent in this country who – given the chance – have an enormous amount to contribute to our culture, our society and our economy.
“It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.”
De Haan’s Trust was not intended to last forever. Constituted in 1999, its reserves were meant to be spent gradually over a 20-year period.
Since the closure was announced in March, IdeasTap members have rallied round in a display of support, gratitude and sadness.
Writer Kirsty Logan tweeted: “Very sad to hear that IdeasTap is closing. I got my first literary agent and my first columnist job through IdeasTap. They will be much missed.”
Big names in the industry have also got involved on Twitter. BBC economics editor Robert Peston tweeted: “The closure of arts charity IdeasTap a huge blow to young artists, was important leg up for many.” Theatre critic for the Guardian, Lyn Gardner, added: “Such a pity; given a helping hand to so many artists, writers and more at crucial point. So hard to get started.”