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Further Details on the Cultural Recovery Fund Announced

Key highlights from the Government’s most recent announcement on how organisations can apply for the £880m being made to organisations in the arts sector in England.

Published: 29 July 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of the houses of parliament, viewed from across Westminister bridge and the Thames on a bright, blue day.
We are concerned about the exclusion of individuals and how the funding will filter down to our members. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Government and Arts Council England have announced further details for how organisations can apply for the £880m being made available for grants under the Government’s recently announced £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund for England.

We understand that announcements will be forthcoming on funding in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shortly.

Full details of the Arts Council England administered funds are available on the Arts Council England website and on the Government’s website.

Key highlights from the announcement

Key highlights include:

  • The Cultural Recovery Fund is intended to support significant organisations, which were financially sustainable before Covid-19 but are now at imminent risk of failure and have exhausted all other options. It is intended that the investment will ensure that, by 31 March 2021, successful applicants are either – a) fully or partially reopened, or b) operating on a sustainable, cost efficient basis, so that they are able to reopen at a later date if, for example, reopening under social distancing is not possible or economically viable.
  • Grants from £50k up to £3 million available.
  • £622 million will be distributed in the first round with Arts Council overseeing £500 million across the arts and cultural sector.
  • Open 10 August to 4 September (first round from 10 August to 21 August - second round runs from 21 August to 4 September).
  • Allocation includes the previously announced £2.25 million in targeted support for grassroots music venues.
  • A remaining allocation of £258 million will be reserved for later in the financial year.
  • To be successful, applicants will need to have an innovative plan for how they will operate and be sustainable for the remainder of this financial year, as well as demonstrate their international, national or local significance.
  • Smaller organisations must show how they benefit their local communities.
  • Separately, £270m loans will be available for £3 million plus and open to both charitable and commercial organisations. Organisations can apply for loans or grants but not both.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Applications sought from cultural organisations (both profit and not for profit) based in England that are properly constituted and are registered at Companies House and/or Charity Commission, and are able to produce at least one year’s full independently certified or audited financial statements. Applicants do not have to have had public funding in the past to be eligible.
  • Individuals are explicitly excluded from applying for these funds.

A new Cultural Recovery Board announced

As part of the same announcement the Government announced that there will be a new Culture Recovery Board.

The board will be chaired by Sir Damon Buffini, to help administer the programme and advising on the largest grants, as well as deciding the beneficiaries of the further £270m repayable loans being made available.

We are concerned about the exclusion of individuals

Naturally, the MU is very concerned about the exclusion of individuals and how the funding will filter down to its members. We hope the funding will not only sustain the infrastructure of the industry but protect jobs and support freelancers.

We will continue to lobby for sector-specific extension of the Furlough scheme and the SEISS so that our members are supported while the live music business, in particular, remains largely dormant. We also continue to ask for the gaps to be filled in or alternative funds to be made available for the 38% of our members who do not qualify for either scheme.

We know theatres, orchestras, music venues and festivals provide significant work for our members and these will struggle to recover while social distancing remains in place. We also know that a review of social distancing is unlikely to take place until at least November 2020.

We will keep a close eye on how the funding is administered to ensure that the livelihoods of musicians are catered for.

At this point in time, opportunities to gig in pub gardens, teach music, perform outdoors and – when the Government announces it is permissible indoors under social distancing – will be crucial to our members. Further advice and guidance on these areas will be made available in due course.

Sources of funding for individuals that are available

Importantly, Arts Council England is adding £18 million to their programme for individuals, Developing Your Creative Practice. This is unlikely to fully mitigate against the winding down of the Government support schemes, of course, but we hope it will make some paid work possible.

We will be providing further advice and guidance to members in our Coronavirus newsletter as further funding opportunities arise.

Project funding, such as through the PRS for Music Foundation, will play a crucial role and we will be working with music industry organisations to maximise on these and ensure our members can utilise these wherever possible.

Take Action for Musicians

Please continue to use your voice, as you can see from this week in Parliament it really is working. Ask the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protect all self-employed workers, and ensure no musician is left behind.

You can use our template letter if you're not sure what to say. Remember to include how you are affected too. Personal stories make all the difference.

Write to Rishi now.

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