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Support For Arts Organisations & Freelancers

Connecting Our Communities: Support for Organisations & Freelancers

Liverpool is renowned for its rich cultural offer, from museums and galleries to festivals of all shapes and sizes. It also has a huge economic impact, and is a key driver in the city’s visitor economy, now worth over £3.3 billion each year and supporting 38,000 jobs.

In these unprecedented times it’s vital the sector is safeguarded. That’s why Arts Council England (ACE) has created an emergency fund worth £160 million to support people and organisations affected by Covid-19.

The pressure on the sector can already be felt as cultural organisations across the city and beyond have been forced to close their doors and popular events have been cancelled or postponed.

All museums, galleries, arts organisations, theatres, music venues, artists and freelancers are urged to seek support from this fund, whether it’s to reboot existing creative work or to alleviate financial pressures experienced as a result of Covid-19.


So what’s ACE offering?


National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs)

National Portfolio Organisations are leaders in their area, with a collective responsibility to protect and develop the national arts and cultural ecology. Liverpool is home to 21 NPOs.

20 Stories High, Africa Oyé Limited, Collective Encounters, DaDaFest, FACT, Great Georges Community Cultural Project Ltd (BLACK-E), Homotopia Limited, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art Ltd, Liverpool City Council Culture Liverpool, Milap Festival Trust, Open Eye Gallery, Pagoda Arts, Royal Court Liverpool Trust, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, SoundCity, The Bluecoat, The Reader, Unity Theatre, Wired Aerial Theatre Ltd, Writing on the Wall.

For these organisations ACE plans to:

· Continue its funding with relaxed conditions for up to six months, as necessary. Where possible, ACE will also advance up to six months grant payments to assist with cash flow to relieve immediate financial pressure.

· Set up a new £90 million fund for which they will be able to apply to very soon. The main focus of this fund will be to help NPOs quickly restart their programmes of creative work. It is recognised, however, that some organisations will need to use this support to help maintain its ability to operate. NPOs who benefit will be expected show how they will support the creative freelance practitioners on whom they rely.

· Contact all NPOs with a timeline as soon as possible, with a further update planned before Easter. Current ACE funding for NPOs will be extended to Friday 31 March 2023.

Department For Education (DfE) / ACE Funded Organisations:

All organisations and programmes funded by the DfE and managed by ACE will continue to receive funding, without funding conditions for at least three months with immediate effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020. ACE are also able to advance grant payments to assist with cash flow, should this be required. In Liverpool, this will apply to programmes such as Liverpool’s In Harmony Project and its Music Education Hub.

Funding For Non NPOs:

£50 million is being made available to organisations in the cultural sector, who are not NPOs or Music Education Hubs. Organisations can apply for a maximum of £35,000, and will need to have experience of delivering publicly funded work (directly or indirectly). The purpose of this funding is to help organisations navigate these uncertain times and sustain their future work. As well as supporting business resilience, this is an opportunity for cultural organisations to undertake public facing activities during this crisis by sharing creative content digitally.

Organisations can only apply to one of two rounds for this fund. Round one opens for applications on 9 April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium by 13 April in order to make an application before the deadline of 12pm (midday) 16 April. Round two opens for applications on 16 April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium by 27 April in order to make an application before the deadline of 30 April. Further detail can be found here.

Individual artists, creative practitioners & freelancers:

£20 million is being made available to artists and individuals working in the cultural sector. This could include choreographers, writers, translators, producers, editors, freelance educators in the disciplines and art-forms ACE support, composers, directors, designers, artists, craft makers and curators. Individuals who have a proven track record in publicly funded culture will be able to apply for grants of up to £2,500.

Organisations can only apply to one of two rounds for this fund. Round one opens for applications on 9 April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium by 13 April in order to make an application before the deadline of 12pm (midday) 16 April. Round two opens for applications on 16 April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium by 27 April in order to make an application before the deadline of 30 April. Further details can be found here.

A £4 million portion of this £20 million fund has been set aside to contribute to a number of separate benevolent funds to support individuals working in these areas. The funds are listed in full here and are being administered by a-n, Dance Professionals, Equity Charitable Trust, Society of Authors, The Theatrical Guild, Outdoor Arts UK and Help Musicians UK.

Other Support Available:

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has announced an emergency fund for small charitable organisations and social enterprises in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. More information on how you can apply for grants of up to £10,000 can be found on the CAF website here.

The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (CICs) has announced its robust plans to maintain services for CICs and protect the welfare of employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The latest advice and guidance can be found here.

Curious Minds are offering fast turnaround Continuous Professional Development & Learning bursaries for cultural education freelancers (£750) and small or community-based arts organisations (£1,500) whose main work is with schools or children and young people. This money should allow those in the cultural education community the space for their own development, and hopefully ‘bridge the gap’ between now and the receipt of any emergency grants or funding. Applications close on Thursday 30 April 2020. For more information and to apply go to the Curious Minds Bridging The Gap webpage.


Digital Culture Network Have You Covered…


Digital platforms are essential for businesses up and down the country now more than ever. That’s why the Digital Culture Network have created a wealth of easy step by step resources, to help cultural organisations in receipt of Arts Council England funding address some of the digital challenges they may be facing right now.

So if you want to know how to create engaging video content using your mobile phone, generate income online or understand the best platforms for virtual conferences and live streaming, then their Tech Champions have you covered.

If you head on over the Digital Culture Network, Resources, Support & Events Page, you will find all you need to get started. Their content is continually updated so don’t forget to pop back on a regular basis to stay in the know.

The team have also pulled together a round-up of help and advice from their Sector Support Organisations, including Arts Marketing Association, The Association for Cultural Enterprises, The Audience Agency, Collections Trust, Culture 24, ScreensSkills, Stagetext and VocalEyes. With handy hints and tips covering all art forms take a look and be inspired to do things differently.

Whilst face to face training and events are not an option for the time being, there are a host of informative webinars happening over the coming weeks. From remaining positive and resilient to choosing the best social platforms and creating low cost content there is plenty to keep you informed and up-to-date with current trends. You can find out more and register your place to online courses here.