Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism
The Welsh Government announced a £53m Cultural Recovery Fund in July to provide essential support to theatres, music venues, heritage sites, museums, galleries and independent cinemas, which have all experienced a dramatic loss of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A proportion of that fund – £27.5m – was earmarked for distribution by the Arts Council of Wales.
This week, the Arts Council of Wales announced a package of funding support for music, dance, theatre, literature, visual and applied arts, combined arts, and digital art organisations as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund.
A total of 222 organisations will receive essential financial support. Most of the funding was offered in revenue grants to support those facing urgent financial difficulties and to protect as many jobs in the sector as possible. Capital grants have also been awarded to make physical adaptions to buildings needed to adhere to social distancing regulations.
The Arts Council estimates the funding will protect at least 1,800 jobs, providing a lifeline to the sector. A list of the organisations to receive grants is available here.
The remainder of the Cultural Recovery Fund is being administered by the Welsh Government is aimed at supporting organisations in the cultural, creative, events and heritage sectors, closed for applications on 2 October.
More than 1,000 applications have been received across the four funding strands. The applications are currently being appraised and approved. The first payments are being made to organisations.
Many individual artists and creative freelancers have suffered an immediate loss of income as a result of this crisis. The £7m Freelancer Fund will help 2,800 freelancers with a grant of £2,500 each.
The fund opened on 5 October with phase one offering £3.5m. It has received 1,400 applications; those which have been approved have started to receive money in their bank accounts – the majority will receive the money by the end of next week.
Phase two, with a further £3.5m, opened on 19 October. There has been significant demand with six local authorities closing their funds quickly earlier this week. Applications are being assed and approved with payments already being made. Based on the clear demand in some authorities compared to others, we have reallocated budgets to those areas with the greatest need. We expect continued demand in Cardiff and the surrounding areas and are exploring options to secure additional resources to meet this demand.
We continue to work with stakeholders, including unions and freelancers, through the Freelancer Taskforce to support the sector through this extremely difficult period.