DORCHESTER Arts insists it is ‘business as usual’ despite missing out on a major slice of national funding.

The county town arts organisation was not included in the Arts Council’s National Portfolio funding that will come into effect next April.

Artistic director for Dorchester Arts Mark Tattersall, pictured, admitted he was ‘disappointed’ but said there were plenty of reasons for his organisation to look forward in a positive light.

He said: “Although we are of course disappointed not to remain part of the Arts Council National Portfolio, it’s business as usual for Dorchester Arts as we have made sure that we are not reliant on one stream of funding alone.

“We have the support of so many other people and organisations – our board of trustees, our members, West Dorset District Council, Dorchester Town Council, our sponsors, volunteers and perhaps above all the ever growing audiences and participants who show us week in and week out how much we are valued by our local community.

“Our Arts Council funding continues for the next nine months and we are already discussing other funding routes with them outside the NPO framework.

“In the meantime we will be talking to all those who support us to make sure that Dorchester continues to have the arts at its heart all the year round.”

Bridport Arts Centre, the B-Side festival and Artsreach were among those that were included in the National Portfolio Funding announcement for Dorset.

Chairman of the South West Area Council Sheila Healy said: “Sadly, the level of ambition demonstrated in the applications is not matched by our financial resources so we have had to make extremely difficult choices.

“But funding for national portfolio organisations or major partner museums is only one part of Arts Council England’s investment programme and hopefully we may be able to support some of these organisations in other ways, such as through our Grants for the Arts programme.”

Area director for the Arts Council in the South West Phil Gibby added: “Due to budget restraints we were not able to fund a number of very good applications, including some organisations which have been part of our National Portfolio in the last three years.

“However, we are delighted that we have maintained or increased our level of support to so many of our core organisations through this process and will continue to work to ensure that ambition, artistic adventure and entrepreneurial spirit are kept alive so that a strong countrywide cultural ecology is nurtured and maintained.”