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The Arts Council has announced a £160million emergency response package to support individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations.

The intervention is designed to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government to help the wider economy.

In addition to this emergency response package, the Arts Council will also postpone the National Portfolio Organisation investment process (for organisations who receive regular core funding from the Arts Council). The process for 2022-26 was due to begin this autumn; instead, we will roll over our current National Portfolio for 1 year, to 2023.

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The financial crisis is acute for the cultural sector. Evidence shows that closures and cancelled contracts are causing massive and unsustainable loss of revenues. The measures are intended to support individuals and organisations and help them develop creative responses to the Covid-19 crisis, to buoy the public during the period of lockdown.

The Arts Council’s sole priority at this time is to use its financial resources to support artists and creative practitioners, museums, libraries, and arts organisations, so that they can continue to serve our communities during this crisis, and reboot creatively after it is over.

What does this emergency response package contain?

£160million of emergency funding will be available, of which £20million will be for creative practitioners and freelancers, £50million for organisations outside the National Portfolio, and £90million to support National Portfolio Organisations.

Artists and a wide range of creative practitioners will be eligible for cash grants up to £2,500. From the £20million fund, the Arts Council is also planning to make grants up to £4million to existing Benevolent Funds for cultural workers.

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Organisations outside the National Portfolio will be able to apply for grants up to £35,000 from the £50million fund. This fund is to support them to get back on their feet, or to continue making work in the future that will mean they can contribute to delivering our new strategy, Let’s Create.

Funding conditions for those already in receipt of National Lottery Project Grants will be relaxed where relevant.

These new funds for both individuals and organisations will be up and running by 30th March, with first payments made within 6 weeks.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“Covid-19 is having an impact globally, far beyond the cultural sector – but our responsibility is to sustain our sector as best we can, so that artists and organisations can continue to nourish the imagination of people across the country, both during the crisis and in the period of recovery.

“Over the last week, I have been deeply moved by the response of artists and cultural organisations to this crisis: their imagination and invention, but also their generosity, and their care for one another and their communities. None of us can hope to weather this storm alone, but by working together in partnership, I believe we can emerge the stronger, with ideas shared, new  ways of working, and new relationships forged at the local, national and even international level.”

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Airy fairy non important projects should be banned. We will need every penny to survive this, let alone waste money on vanity projects for those who are a little odd to gasp over some lump of metal, or smears of paint on canvas etc.

This will be about human survival soon.

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