Hundreds of creatives are now facing an uncertain future as they say an emotional goodbye to 'life-changing' arts charity IdeasTap, which closes its doors for the final time today.
The charity was founded in 2008 by philanthropist Peter De Haan in lieu of taxpayer support to those interested in careers in the arts and creative industries. Since then, they have offered over £2.3m in mentoring and funding opportunities, as well as training, advice, job listings, and a range of networking events to over 190,000 members. Their projects saw them collaborate with the British Film Institute, the National Youth Theatre, Sky, and offer the Edinburgh Fringe's annual Udderbelly award.
In a letter published by The Huffington Post UK, De Haan said that " we simply do not have the funding to continue," and admitted that attempts to secure government and corporate support had failed, and his charitable trust was about to run out of money.
IdeasTap members meet Kevin Spacey
The news was met with collective shock and dismay by the arts community, who immediately launched a #SaveIdeasTap campaign to draw attention to the ways in which the charity had helped them.
Poet and performer Sabrina Mahfouz wrote in The Guardian that she owed her career to IdeasTap, and the news of its closure was "extremely disheartening; especially as it comes at a time when young people face such a multitude of challenges in pursuing the career they want."
It was subsequently announced that IdeasTap would be absorbed by Hiive, a new professional networking site for creatives, which is funded by Creative Skillset. In his HuffPost UK blog, Hiive's editor Ciaran Burke described IdeasTap as "the industry leaders...an organisation we've been inspired and influenced by whilst working on Hiive".
However, whilst the partnership enables IdeasTap's funding opportunities to be hosted on Hiive's site, the organisation as a whole will no longer operate as of today.
In an impassioned blog post, IdeasTap member and beneficiary Ben Norris wrote that the closure acts as a renewed call to arms for the arts community to resist having their work defined in purely economic terms.
"It’s about its cultural value (for which our Isles are justly famed)," he writes. "What’s the point of being alive, and having piles of money to roll around in, if we can’t examine what it is to be alive, and what that life means. Science and finance are how we live. Art, relationships, communication, and culture are why we live."
On a day that young people are bearing the brunt of George Osborne's £12bn in welfare cuts, IdeasTap's members expressed their sadness at the charity's closure.
Goodbye @IdeasTap you changed my life and it's a shame you won't changes others anymore.— Luke Barnes (@northernluke) July 8, 2015
I remember the boost I got from winning an @IdeasTap competition when first starting out. Young creatives need confidence as well as money.— Vinay Patel (@VinayPatel) July 8, 2015
Very sorry to say goodbye today to @IdeasTap who we worked with on several successful writer development schemes.— BBC Writersroom (@bbcwritersroom) July 8, 2015
Goodbye and thank you @IdeasTap. You will be sorely missed in a time when support for independent artists is needed greatly— Chip Thompson (@Thompson_film) July 8, 2015
Raising discourse, opportunities and creativity. It's been invaluable having you supporting artists @IdeasTap— richchilver (@richchilver) July 8, 2015
V sorry to say goodbye to @IdeasTap today. A wonderful & innovative organisation that gave me my first real writing job. You will be missed!— Daisy Stella Baldwin (@DaisyStella) July 8, 2015
@IdeasTap thank you for providing such an inspirational, much-needed, service in order to allow us creatives to thrive at what we love doing— Katie Dunstaaaaaaan. (@KatieDunst) July 8, 2015
Horrible to see @IdeasTap close. It's given me and other writers far too much help over the years and now we'll never be able to repay them— Gavin Whenman (@GavinWhenman) July 8, 2015
Cant think of anything that put such faith into young artists as @IdeasTap .Today, when youth took another hit, its closure hurts especially— Tom Chick (@tomchickpics) July 8, 2015
Last day of @IdeasTap; thanks for showing young artists, writers and actors that creativity isn't a luxury & doesn't have to be a pipe dream— Katie McCabe (@KMcCabie) July 8, 2015
Take a look @IdeasTap timeline to get a tiny snapshot of their mega direct impact on so many lives.— Imandeep Kaur (@ImmyKaur) July 8, 2015
Dear @IdeasTap thanks for the worlds you changed. You are awesome. Here's to us all finding ways to keep the brilliant work going somehow.— Imandeep Kaur (@ImmyKaur) July 8, 2015