Mayor of London announces £2.3m emergency culture fund
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today (30 April) launched a £2.3 million (€2.65m) emergency fund to support cultural and creative industries at risk due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Beneficiaries of the fund include Music Venue Trust, which receives a £450,000 donation towards its #saveourvenues campaign in aid of at-risk grassroots venues, and the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, which receives £225,000 – as well as £1.5m for Creative Land Trust to support artist workspaces and £150,000 to the British Film Institute (BFI) in aid of independent cinemas.
Grassroots venues have been particularly hard hit by the impact of Covid-19, and the funding for Music Venue Trust (MVT) will support up to 147 independent London venues – benefitting businesses most at risk of falling into administration and unable to benefit from government schemes – according to the mayor.
“The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on every aspect of life in London, and that includes our culture, creative industries and night-time economy,” says Khan. “These industries are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis.
“This funding from the mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue”
“I’m pleased to be working together with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and the BFI to offer this emergency funding to those areas most at need, but we need the government to step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs to protect its future.”
MVT’s Beverley Whitrick adds: “Music Venue Trust works on behalf of grassroots music venues across the whole UK, but the greatest concentration of our members is in London. These venues are some of the most impacted by the current crisis because the costs of running a venue in London are so high.
“This funding from the mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue, dedicating invaluable human resources, specialist advice and financial assistance where other measures come up short – everything possible to sustain these venues so they can reopen in the future and host artists and audiences safely and professionally.”
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Mayor’s appeal fails: Half Moon to become a gastropub
Even an intervention from the mayor of London hasn’t been enough to save Herne Hill music venue the Half Moon.
Southwark Council has approved planning permission, requested by new owner Fuller’s in January, to add new kitchen and restaurant spaces to the rear of the pub’s ground floor, where the stage and audience area are currently located, transforming the Half Moon (pictured) from a pub/grassroots live venue into a music-free gastropub.
Peter Blair, who runs the Save the Half Moon campaign, announced the news on Facebook. “We will take stock in the coming days and continue to negotiate on the best possible outcome for live performance at the Half Moon, albeit with limited options now available to us,” he writes.
“Can we still hold live music and comedy in the pub? Not in the manner we were accustomed to. I am sorry that we could not achieve more”
“We will continue to ask Fuller’s to be mindful of the asset-of-community-value status of the Half Moon, and we did gain a minor concession in terms having no fixed furniture in the main area of the back room. Can we still hold live music and comedy in the pub? Not in the manner we were accustomed to. I am sorry that we could not achieve more.”
The Half Moon has been closed since 2013, when a burst water pipe flooded Herne Hill. It became a listed building, as an ‘asset of community value’ (ACV), in December 2015 following a campaign by Save the Half Moon and local residents to save the pub. It was bought by Fuller’s in January.
The brewery’s plans to do away with the pub’s live music area prompted a representative for London mayor Boris Johnson, an advocate for the UK capital’s music venues and nightlife, to “urge the management to continue a regular programme of new and cutting-edge grassroots music acts”.