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UK Culture Recovery Fund details revealed

Music and culture organisations may apply for grants of up to £3m from a £500m pot allocated to Arts Council England

By IQ on 29 Jul 2020

Nicolas Serota of Arts Council England, which will allocate £500m of the Culture Recovery Fund

image © Huge Glendinning/Arts Council England

The British government today (29 July) set out application guidance for £622 million in grants, as part of its much-anticipated £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The first round of funding – allocated through Arts Council England (for arts and cultural organisations, including music businesses), the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England (heritage sites), and the British Film Institute (independent cinemas) – totals £622m, with £500m reserved for Arts Council England (ACE).

The £500m ACE fund (which includes the £2.25m for grassroots music venues announced earlier this week) will allow cultural-sector businesses to “reopen/restart their operations, where appropriate” or “operate on a sustainable, cost-efficient basis, so that they are able to reopen at a later date”, according to the ACE guidance for applications, which open on Monday 10 August.

The fund, which is open to companies based in England, will support costs incurred between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 including staff salaries, freelance employment and operation costs; maintaining buildings while closed; redundancy pay-outs, debts incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic; and reflating cash reserves of up to eight weeks of turnover.

Grants of between £50,000 and £3m are available; all applications over £1m will be referred to a Culture Recovery Board, appointed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The board is chaired by businessman Sir Damon Buffini, with the music sector represented by Claire Whitaker, formerly owner and director of jazz promoter Serious.

“Help is on the way to our much-loved cultural and heritage organisations”

A further £258m is reserved for a second round of grants later in the financial year, in addition to £270m in repayable finance. More details on the outstanding elements of the £1.57bn package – worth £1.15 billion to “cultural organisations” – will be revealed later this year, a DCMS spokesperson tells IQ.

“Help is on the way to our much-loved cultural and heritage organisations with our £1.57 billion fund,” says UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden. “This support package will protect buildings, organisations and people to help ensure our wonderful institutions, big and small, pull through Covid.

“Today we’re publishing guidance so organisations know how to access help. We’re also calling on organisations to be creative in diversifying their income streams and the public to continue supporting the places they love, so this funding can be spread as far and wide as possible”.

Adds Nicholas Serota (pictured), chair of Arts Council England: “Arts and cultural organisations are an integral part of public life in villages, towns and cities across the country. We warmly welcome and are pleased to be administering this vital investment from government, which will help ensure as many organisations as possible survive the existential challenge posed by Covid-19 so they can continue to serve their communities safely in the future.”

The deadline for the first round of applications is 21 August 2020.


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