East Street Arts.jpg

East Street Arts

Fund manager - Key Fund

East Street Arts (ESA) delivers professional support programmes for artists.

  • £110000 Size of loan from Key Fund for renovation
  • 15 Number of job roles preserved – Data from East Street Arts
  • £278000 Trading income of the hostel


Art can be a positive way to develop skills, create employment and stimulate economic growth. But for many artists, it’s a challenge to find studio space and somewhere affordable to live. ​


East Street Arts (ESA) delivers professional support programmes for artists. Through many partnerships with artists across the UK and abroad, ESA saw a need to create a bespoke art hostel offering long-term, affordable and accessible accommodation where artists could work and stay in Leeds. So it began renovating disused buildings, to create art studios in disadvantaged areas.​

Key Fund provided ESA with loan finance of £110,000 from the Key Fund Community Property Fund, which Big Society Capital invested £1.5 million in. The loan was used to renovate a building in the Kirkgate area and convert it into a residential art hostel and creative hub. Each bedroom has its own unique design, while a project space hosts a programme of artists' events and installations with links to the city’s creative scene. The facility's social aim is to support and retain young creative talent in the city while boosting the socio-economic development of the area. The facility currently has five live-in volunteers, a local volunteer team of 10, and widespread support from the local community.​ Trading income generated by the hostel pays back the loan amount.


Its art hostel enabled East Street Arts to safeguard 15 current roles and create three new posts. The hostel's trading income currently stands at £278,000, accommodating 100 people per week, and has considerably increased local footfall. Being in a deprived area, the hostel uses art as a tool to tackle social isolation, offering volunteer opportunities and the experience of arts and hospitality to the local community.