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Arts Council England announces emergency funding support package
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Arts Council England announces emergency funding support package

An emergency funding package to support creative industries impacted by the coronavirus crisis has been announced by Arts Council England.

The Council has confirmed that National Portfolio Organisations will be able to request an advance of up to six months of their 2020/21 funding in April.

It has spent the last 10 days drawing up plans to provide support and ease the financial impact across the sector. Arts Council England recognises that everyone in the publicly-supported cultural sector – from individual artists and freelancers, to the staff of large cultural institutions – needs an emergency response.

The new measures are:

• A £160m emergency response package to support individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations. This will help individuals and organisations focus on two things: sustaining their livelihoods and businesses, and developing creative responses to the Covid-19 crisis, to help buoy the public for its duration.

• The postponement of the next National Portfolio Organisation investment process, due to begin this autumn, and the rolling over of the Council’s current National Portfolio for one year, to 2023.

The emergency response package will comprise of £20m for creative practitioners and freelancers, £50m for organisations who aren’t in the National Portfolio and £90m for National Portfolio Organisations.

Artists and a wide range of creative practitioners will be eligible for grants up to £2,500. Arts Council England will administer £16m of this fund and is planning to make additional grants of up to £4m to external benevolent funds, for other cultural workers.

Organisations outside the National Portfolio will be able to apply for grants of up to £35,000, and conditions for those already receiving funding from the Arts Council through National Lottery Project Grants will be relaxed where relevant.

Guidance and a detailed timeline for the funds for individuals and for organisations who aren’t in the Arts Council portfolio will be published on 30 March 2020. Further details of the £90m fund for NPOs will be released just after Easter. The NPO fund comes alongside measures the Arts Council has already taken around advancing current grants to help with cashflow and relaxing funding conditions.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Midlands, Arts Council England, said:

Our resources are limited, which means we have difficult choices ahead. But in all of these choices, we’ll be guided by the principle of doing what’s best to support the cultural ecology of this country as a whole.

Within this, we’ll ensure that certain groups, such as disabled artists, are not unfairly disadvantaged. We’re working on the criteria for our decision-making, and we’ll publish them so that everyone can be confident we’re investing these emergency funds transparently. More information on all of this is now live on our website, and more will follow in the next week, as we continue to work on the details.

I want to stress that this emergency response package is only intended to deal with the immediate crisis. To secure the long-term recovery of the cultural sector, we will continue to work closely with government and other partners on further actions. Now, and for the foreseeable future, our one and only priority is to support cultural organisations and individuals using every means at our disposal.”

For further information visit the Arts Council website here.