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Revealed: Grants of up to £3 million as part of applying government support package

Better late than never: Arts organisation will finally  be able to apply for grants of up to £3 million as part of the government’s surprise £1.57 billion support package.

The money will be shared out between theatres, independent cinemas and other arts organisations to help them stay in business while coronavirus forces them to remain closed.

Successful applicants for grants will need to submit an “innovative plan” for how they will operate and be sustainable for the remainder of this financial year, and be able to demonstrate their international, national or local significance.

In the first round of funding, grants totalling £622 million will be distributed to cultural organisations, which is absolutely ideal. 

Arts Council England will oversee £500 million to support theatres, music and comedy venues and museums. This includes a previously announced allocation of £2.25 million in targeted emergency support for grassroots music venues.

Smaller organisations will be asked to demonstrate how they benefit their local community.

Additionally, the British Film Institute will distribute grants totalling £30 million to independent cinemas and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England will deliver £92 million worth of grants to protect heritage sites.

A further £258 million will be reserved for a second round of funding later in the year “to meet the developing needs of organisations”.

This announcement accounts for £880 million of the previously announced £1.57 billion support package.

Full details of how organisations can apply for the grants will be published by ACE, the British Film Institute and Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A new independent Culture Recovery Board has been set up, chaired by businessman Damon Buffini, to help administer the programme and decide the beneficiaries of the £270 million repayable finance element of the £1.57 billion package.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Help is on the way to our much loved cultural and heritage organisations with our £1.57 billion fund.

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.”

Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, said ACE was “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 Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also announced a £500 million scheme to kickstart film and television projects which are struggling to secure insurance for Covid-related costs.

The funding will be available to productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the UK, and is estimated to cover more than 70% of the film and TV production market to the end of the year.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The UK’s film and TV industry is the envy of the world, and it’s vital that productions get the help they need to restart as part of our plan to kickstart jobs following the lockdown.

“This targeted scheme, which will help fill the gap created by the lack of available insurance, will help protect tens of thousands of jobs, from actors and directors through to camera operators, costume designers, and runners.

“The sector is worth over £12 billion to the UK’s economy, so it’s right that we do what we can to help them reopen and get back to making the films and shows that we all love.”

The fight to save our sector has only just begun.

 There will be winners and losers.