The government’s £1.57 billion rescue package for Britain’s crisis-hit arts, culture and heritage sector has been welcomed as an “amazing boost to us all” by Elspeth McBain, Chief Executive of Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts.
Thousands of organisations including theatres, concert halls, live music venues galleries, museums and independent cinemas will be able to access emergency grants and loans.
“This is an amazing boost for us all because we were fast approaching the point at which we could not carry on,” says Elspeth. “At the stroke of midnight the Government kept its promise not to let down the arts sector, but we hope the regions will be as supported as the large institutions because what Lighthouse delivers for our community is huge.”
Announced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as “the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture” the package aims to provide a lifeline to maintain cultural and heritage organisations while their doors are closed.
“Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation,” said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. “They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.
“I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”
In England organisations will be able to apply to a £1.15 billion pot made up of £270 million in loans and £880 million in grants.
The scheme will open for applications in the coming weeks and decisions on awards will be made by DCMS working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.
The government is finalising guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors that will be published shortly.