An additional £30 million in emergency funding has been made available through the Culture Recovery Fund to support museums, cinemas, theatres and heritage organisations with the impact of the Omicron variant this winter.
Announced as part of the Chancellor’s £1 billion support package, this funding recognises how important the festive period is for the arts, heritage and creative sectors and will provide vital emergency grants, doubling the amount that was previously available in the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund.
Now open for applications, emergency grants will safeguard local museums and heritage, independent cinemas and regional theatres so that they can continue to support jobs, contribute to the economy, and make sure everyone has access to culture and heritage on their doorstep. The government is also extending the application window by a week until January 18, to give more organisations a chance to apply to the fund and help protect even more jobs.
Government funding via Arts Council England will also provide an immediate £1.5 million to support freelancers affected by the pandemic, alongside a further £1.35 million contribution from the theatre sector. This will provide grants of £650,000 each directly to the Theatre Artists Fund, Help Musicians, and £200,000 to a-n, the Artists Information Company, a charity for visual artists which will distribute cash to freelancers over the coming weeks.
Naomi Pohl, MU Deputy General Secretary, said:
Given that musicians face another extremely difficult period due to cancelled work over the festive season, it is welcome news that some funds will be available to support them at the start of the year. Many thanks to Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK and DCMS for this announcement which provides a glimmer of hope just before Christmas.
We have been pushing for financial support for freelancers since the Omicron variant started to affect the live sector in particular. Our own Coronavirus Hardship Fund remains available for members to apply to until the end of the year and then our Benevolent Fund will be open to applications due to Covid-19 related hardship from 1 January.
In the new year, we will be working towards a full reopening of the sector once again and we will continue to advocate for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme to reopen."