On 5th July the Government announced that it would be providing a £1.57 billion support package for cultural and heritage organisations, to help these cope with the impact of Coronavirus. This is intended to help sectors such as performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema.
Further details have been now released about how to access £622 million of this funding, with a further £258 million to be released later in the year. These grants will be administered by the following bodies:
£30 million is available to both non-profit and independent commercial cinemas. £3 million (up to £10,000 per cinema) is allocated to safety grants, to help cinemas put necessary measures in place to protect their staff and the public. The remaining £27 million consists of business sustainability grants, of up to £20,000 per cinema. This fund is open from 10th August to 30th October.
£500 million is available, with grants ranging from a minimum of £50,000 up to a maximum of £3 million. Both profit and not for profit cultural organisations can apply, provided they are registered at Companies House and/or the Charity Commission and are able to produce at least one year’s full independently certified or audited accounts. Local authorities, universities or other public sector bodies who run or maintain cultural services can also apply. This fund is also open from 10th August until 30th October.
These two bodies have £88 million of grants available between them to help cover operating costs and help with adapting business models to allow organisations to become financially viable. This may include reopening, hibernation, mothballing and recovery costs. Not for profit organisations, local authorities, universities and other public sector bodies which manage heritage sites, venues or attractions can apply. Private owners of heritage sites can also apply if their site is usually open to the public for 28 days or more each year. Heritage businesses, such as conservators, contractors, specialists and suppliers, may also apply and so can organisations which manage culturally significant assets. This fund opens on 30 July and the deadline for applications is 17th August. A further £4m is being used to top up other support schemes for the sector.
In all cases claimants must be able to show that they were financially sustainable before COVID-19 and that they have exhausted all other options and are now at risk of failure. The grants will cover costs up to 31 March 2021.
Another fund of £500 million is being released – the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme – which is specifically aimed to help restart productions which have stalled due to a lack of insurance.
A separate fund was introduced for small live music venues – The Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund which has £2.25 million to distribute as grants and opened on 25th July and closes on 3rd August 2020.