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As more Culture Recovery Fund grants awarded, unsuccessful applicants demand to know more about criteria

By | Published on Monday 19 October 2020

Culture Recovery Fund

Another 588 cultural organisations in England received funding from the Culture Recovery Fund on Friday, with £76 million being distributed this time round to help those recipients deal with the challenges caused by the COVID-19 shutdown.

The latest round of grants from the Arts Council England scheme – which is distributing a significant portion of the £1.57 billion in sector-specific funding provided to the cultural and heritage industries by the UK government – came just days after the first round, in which £257 million was awarded to 1385 theatres, venues, galleries, festivals, museums and other cultural organisations.

Commenting on the second round of funding, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations. These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country”.

Plenty of music companies and organisations were among the second round of beneficiaries, and the music industry – although still critical of many aspects of the government’s COVID response – continues to commend this particular funding intervention, which should enable many music venues, festivals and other groups survive through to April of next year even as the COVID shutdown extends and expands.

That said, as successful applicants were being told what grants they will receive, others were finding out that their applications had been unsuccessful. And over the weekend the Night Time Industries Association hit out at the news that a number of key dance music venues in London were among the latter group, demanding to know more about the criteria employed by the Arts Council in making its decisions.

The trade organisation said it was “shocked and dismayed at London’s iconic dance music venues Printworks, The Egg, Studio 338, Oval Spaces and The Pickle Factory being refused the cultural recovery funding”.

NTIA boss Michael Kill added: “We are shocked and dismayed that some of the key contemporary music venues, events and supply chain have been missed out of the cultural recovery fund, and with no clear understanding of the future, this has left many of them in an extremely difficult financial position”.

“We have been aware all along that the fund would not be able to support everyone and will leave many businesses who have missed out on this opportunity awaiting on a perilous cliff edge”, he went on. “But given the significance of some of the businesses that have been left out, we are concerned with regard to eligibility and fair consideration around the types of businesses and the criteria they have been measured against”.

He concluded: “We are keen, alongside hundreds of unsuccessful businesses, to understand the criteria with which some of these decisions have been made, and gain an understanding of when and if there will be further support for the sector through cultural funding, as we are losing important businesses and people every day”.