COVID-19: Art Venues Given Lifeline in £1.75bn Support Package

“the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture”

After weeks of unacquainted pressure, the Government have finally woken up to our warnings and given the arts sector the “biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture.”

The package comes after floods of support came in for UK arts venues across social media from project, “Let The Music Play.”

With major artists endorsing the movement with littered signatures and local artists sharing their most recent stage performances, traction was gained and we have the new funding that we so desperately need.

In a package split between £880m in grants and £270m of repayable loans, it allows to not only rebuild cultural infrastructure that was ultimately stopped due to the Pandemic but allows all invested within it to stay afloat – leaders and workers alike.

Arts Council England, Music Venue Trust and the Society of London Theatre were among to welcome this funding with open arms.

In a post sent across social media, Music Venue Trust said:

“This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues and gives us the time we need to create a plan to Reopen Every Venue Safely.

Music Venue Trust

Now, other questions are being raised. Now we’ve got financial backing, what will be the steps to ensure venues can reopen safely?

I imagine we will have a more structured plan in the coming weeks when this support is distributed between arts bodies, constitutions and grass-root music venues across the UK.

“On behalf of every grassroots music venue in the UK we would like to take this opportunity to thank every music fan, every artist, every activist, and every one of you, our people, who got this done.”

Yes, it’s true. If support was grafted like it was, would we have ever received such financial support? Regardless of the fact that we shouldn’t have to ask in the first place, it is a time of relief as we begin to stage the next critical period in getting our arts venues reopened again.

“This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues and gives us the time we need to create a plan to safely reopen live music.”

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust Chief Executive

Preserving “crown-jewel” venues like the Royal Albert Hall and national galleries

Funding Package: Is it a Double-Edged Sword?

However, with this excitement comes hesitance.

Not all venues will be winners.

Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden stated that institutions applying would have to prove how they contribute to the wider economic growth, and with the Government not detailing how the money will be split accordingly within art bodies, it seems that the majority of local venues may not be necessarily supported as funds will be more than likely going to the majors in the big cities. But, we cannot reside negativity at the moment. Hopefully with constitutions supporting grass-roots, it may not necessarily come to this. So all we have to do for now, is to look into the future with positivity.

“They [arts venues] make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.”

Oliver Dowden, Culture secretary

Further reading:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-53302415

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/157-billion-investment-to-protect-britains-world-class-cultural-arts-and-heritage-institutions

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