The second major round of the £1.57 billon culture recovery fund has been announced
Over 1300 arts organisations are benefitting from a share of £257 million as part of a vital financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion culture recovery fund.
Announced today (12th October), it’s the fund’s second major tranche - following £103 million for 445 heritage organisations including Manchester venues like Elizabeth Gaskell's House - and is aimed at theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations and cultural venues that applied for grants of under £1 million.
Greater Manchester recipients reflect the full spectrum; from music venues like Gorilla and Band on the Wall to festivals like bluedot and galleries like The Whitworth. Theatres include Contact and Oldham Coliseum, while arts institutions span Manchester Art Fair to the Circus House - you can find the full list at the bottom of this article.
Designed to help beneficiaries ‘face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure they have a sustainable future,’ the money will be distributed by Arts Council England (ACE) on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The allocation of millions more pounds worth of culture recovery funding is to be announced over the coming weeks.
While a blow to those who were unsuccessful - including, controversially, Frog & Bucket comedy club; something Lucy Powell MP will be contesting 'urgently' - today’s announcement will be a huge relief to many.
📢 ARTS NEWS:
£257m to save 1385 theatres, museums, music venues and cultural organisations - the soul of our nation.
The biggest tranche of our Culture Recovery Fund yet, this will:
👥 protect jobs
🎭 restart performances
🎺create work for freelancers#HereForCulture pic.twitter.com/Pwr3U2bdNR
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) October 12, 2020
Nevertheless, for many in the arts, funding has been too little too late. The £1.57 billion rescue fund was announced on 5th July, over three months after performance venues were forced to close their doors. Already the Music Venue Trust had saved 140 venues from closure, the Royal Exchange had announced redundancy talks and - wrote cultural lead councillor Luthfur Rahman in an impassioned open letter (resent a fortnight later) - organisations citywide were ‘coming closer and closer to their final curtain,’ a scenario echoed across the country.
With distribution far from instantaneous, cultural venues have continued to struggle. Later in July saw operator Mission Mars reveal it would be closing two beloved Manchester music institutions (fortunately they were rescued by Tokyo Industries) and Band on the Wall reveal it would be making 26 staff redundant and closing for its planned renovation earlier than originally intended; such events prompted £3.36 million (part of the rescue fund) to be issued urgently to music venues but yet again it was far too close a call.
The DCMS and ACE are amongst several bodies to support the crippled arts economy - including the National Lottery Heritage Fund plus a range of trusts, foundations and sector bodies like Greater Manchester Combined Authority - providing support packages, grants, commissions and schemes. But, with entertainment still only at stage four of the ‘reopening roadmap’ (socially distanced performances) and no indication of when full opening will be possible, the sector remains in dangerous limbo.
Many venues, for whom social distancing is not economically feasible, remain closed, while those opening are taking huge hits to profits - something HOME highlights in its empty seat campaign. Unsurprisingly the Royal Exchange, despite recent interventions, has indeed had to make a swathe of staff redundant…and it’s not the only one.
From drive-in shows to online streaming and even theatres hosting court cases, the industry has tried to adapt but - with furlough ending in October and chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘viable jobs’ scheme appearing to leave behind those in sectors such as arts and the night-time industry - fears for its survival abound.
Other sticking points in the government’s winter economy plan include relatively little support for the self-employed, something highlighted via campaigns such as Light it in Red/#WeMakeEvents and Let Music Live. Freelance staff number around 70% of the wider entertainment supply chain (also including festivals, other events, film and TV) and related sectors such as nightlife have yet to open altogether.
The long-awaited distribution of the culture recovery fund is a start; whether the necessary sustained, inclusive support is forthcoming remains to be seen.
Culture Recovery Fund: Greater Manchester recipients announced today
Arts at the Mill CIC
Bank Top Industries Ltd
Beat Bazaar Projects Ltd
Bloom Leisure Ltd
Bolton Party Ltd
Buy Art Fair Ltd (now known as Manchester Art Fair)
Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
Creative Tourist Limited
Dirty Rascals Ltd
Discover the Bluedot Ltd
Eagle Bar Manchester
Future Everything CIC
Greater Manchester Arts Centre Ltd (HOME)
Halle Concerts Society
HDI Dance Camps Ltd
Inner City Music Ltd (Band on the Wall)
Lamp Oil Ltd
Rising Moon Theatre
Mackinnon & Saunders Ltd
Manchester Camerata Limited
Manchester City Galleries
Manchester Craft And Design
Manchester Jazz Festival
Manchester Literature Festival
Manchester Young People's Theatre trading as Contact
Matt and Phreds Mcr Ltd
National Football Museum
NK Theatre Arts
Northern Hospitality MCR Ltd
Off The UK
Oldham Coliseum Theatre
Plain View Production Ltd
Proud and Loud Arts
SBS Audio Visual
Spring Markets Limited
Stockport Plaza Trust
The Audience Agency
The Big Tiny
The Circus House
The Factory of Creativity
The Star & Garter
The Stoller Hall
The Whitworth, University of Manchester
TUBE UK LTD
University Of Manchester Students' Union
Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust
Overall Greater Manchester received £13.4 million and the North West £58.9 million. Full data, including amounts allocated, here