The Government has announced a £257 million package to help save 1,385 arts organisations across the country. It is part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, the biggest one-off investment in culture in our nation’s history.
The South West is to receive £26.5 million to support local organisations and 24 theatres, arts venues, museums and culture organisations in Devon are to receive a £3.7 million cash boost.
A Conservative Party spokesperson shared: ‘Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, theatres and museums have suffered from a severe cut in visitors, putting many at risk of closure. To assist, 1,385 theatres, museums, performance groups and arts organisations across England will receive a share of £257 million from the Government. This includes £26.5 million for 249 organisations in the South West. Among the big winners in Devon are Exeter Northcott Theatre, North Devon Theatres, Plymouth Pavilions, Torbay Museums Trust and Coldharbour Mill Museum in Uffculme.
‘The cash injection is part of the wider £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to get the sector back on its feet after coronavirus [disease]. The funding will be used to help performances to restart, allow venues to plan for reopening, protect jobs and create new opportunities for freelancers. The awards are being made by Arts Council England and come on top of £103million of emergency funding distributed from the Culture Recovery Fund for heritage venues and £3.5million of emergency funding for music venues.
‘This current round of awards covers grants of up to £1 million, meaning there is a particular focus on smaller organisations that play a central role in their local communities and will help to launch the stars of tomorrow. Others are already known around the world, such as the Bristol Old Vic, the oldest continuously working theatre in the English language. The Prime Minister has committed to supporting the arts and culture sectors through coronavirus [disease] and the Government has already provided unprecedented financial assistance in addition to this latest funding, including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Further grants and loans are to be announced in the coming weeks. The full list of winners can be found here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/publication/culture-recovery-fund-data’
The Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC, Member of Parliament for Torridge and West Devon, has welcomed the support package, which will benefit several organisations in his constituency, with £200,000 for local organisations in Torridge and West Devon. The grants, delivered through Arts Council England, include £80,424 for The Plough Arts Centre in Torridge and £70,000 for the Fairground Heritage Centre in West Devon. The MP said: “It is extremely positive news that The Plough Arts Centre will benefit from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund. I have campaigned and repeatedly spoken to ministers in recent months to convince them of the need to support local community arts organisations like The Plough and I am pleased that the Government has responded…The Plough is a vital artistic venue in our rural area, it is largely self-supporting and works hard to be at the heart of the life of Great Torrington and the surrounding rural communities. I hope its staff, volunteers and our local communities will be heartened by this news. This comes just days after the announcement of £1.5 million of funding for heritage organisations in this constituency and is yet further evidence of the Government’s commitment to preserving our cultural assets.”
Lisa Robillard Webb, Central Devon Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for 2017 and 2019, said: “Dartmoor is home and inspiration to many artists. Labour calls for wider, more equitable funding to all artists. Even though recent funding has offered winter survival for some organisations, it is not enough. With a lost summer of revenue, a confusing grant application process and rigid eligibility, many artists have been unsupported. This is all compounded by the ineffective benefit system including Universal Credit. I urge the Government to widen the breadth and length of artist grants. My personal thanks go to our local artists who are an integral part of Dartmoor’s tapestry, who offered solace and entertainment in 2020. Labour believes they deserve more.”
The Conservative Party spokesperson writes of “winners” in respect of the funding awards but it is doubtful that many arts organisations would see themselves as such when so many companies and performers have sadly fallen outside of the funding rafts. If you would like to share your personal experience in respect of the pandemic arts funding with The Moorlander, please write to me at the address at the top of this page.