Government funds dry up for The Design Trust

The Design Trust, a non-profit making organisation that is dedicated to helping young designers establish successful businesses, is to close at the end of July after failing to secure further Government funding.

Launched in 1994 by Peta Levi, the organisation has existed primarily on finance from the Government.

The group has run programmes that reinforce Government schemes, including fostering small businesses, promoting British design, encouraging exports and promoting business education.

Designers who have benefited from The Design Trust include Shin and Tomoko Azumi, Byproduct, Annette Nix, Richardson and Ottewill, Rebecca Newnham, Marianne Buus, Jam, David Clarke and First Glass.

But Levi, who works voluntarily for the trust, says that lobbying to raise the necessary money has failed to produce sufficient funding. She was seeking to generate an annual income of £300 000 over the next three years to keep the trust running.

“It’s a very sad situation. Although we and many other people who understand and appreciate the worth of what we have done have lobbied the Government to take a positive decision, it now looks as if our efforts in persuasion have failed,” says Levi. She has had to lay off her four members of staff.

“We cannot feel anything other than intense disappointment and frustration,” adds Levi. “The money which we need – £1m, which you might think is little indeed when compared to the cost of the Millennium Dome – would secure an activity for the future which no one now doubts is a real national asset.”

Levi contacted several organisations including the Royal Society of Arts, Design Council and Prince’s Trust who were “all very sympathetic and would like to have helped,” she says. “But the Design Council said it wasn’t its remit and others don’t have the money.”

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