News & Insight

17th August 2020

Arts and Heritage: Funding hope beyond Covid-19

Liz Purchase, Senior Consultant, Arts & Heritage at Philanthropy Company, shares insight into recovery and resilience funding for the arts and heritage. 

In 2019, arts and culture contributed £10.8 billion[1] to the UK economy, but the value of the arts is of course not just economic; a sector that exists to lift our hearts and open our minds is crucial for making our towns, cities and communities of all shapes and sizes better places to live, work and socialise.  You could be forgiven for thinking that few things are going to be more important in a post Covid-19 world.  During the national lockdown and now as we emerge from it, it has been no surprise to see so many campaigns, open letters, and news stories in support of the UK’s many amazing cultural assets and talent; and importantly, for those seeking and raising funds, it has been encouraging to see a supportive response from funders.

Recovery and resilience funding

Earlier in the lockdown we saw many Covid-19 emergency response funding programmes open, but as those now come to a close, we see instead the launch of new recovery and resilience funding programmes open for the arts and heritage sector.   This is much needed encouragement for theatres, galleries, museums, historic houses, independent cinemas, and live music venues; since March, loss of revenue has been dramatic to say the least, and although the extent of long-term damage to the sector is not yet known, we have already seen many jobs lost, projects mothballed and events cancelled.  So new cultural sector recovery funds from the DCMS, Arts Council, and the NLHF, are an important life-line as sites start to reopen, and venues plan their way forward.  Some funding opportunities have ongoing deadlines and some aren’t until next year allowing plenty of time to consider your approach; but be aware some deadlines are soon, like the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund – read on if you are considering applying!

Arts Council funding

Arts Council England has ring-fenced £500 million to support cultural organisations that were financially stable before Covid-19 but are now at imminent risk of failure.  Through the new Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund, organisations that work in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, museums or literature, can apply for grants ranging from £50,000 up to £3 million.  It’s great that grantees of the Arts Council Covid-19 Emergency Response Funds can apply and also those in receipt of other government support like the furlough scheme income.  There are two rounds for the fund and Round 1 is already open with a deadline of 21st August.   Round 2 opens on the same the day that Round 1 closes, and its deadline is the 4th December.

In addition to the Culture Recovery Fund, the Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants programme is also now open for applications and the deadline is not until April 2021; this allows plenty of time to develop applications for grants in the range of £1,000 to £100,000 from a total available budget of £59.8million. At the Philanthropy Company we have extensive experience of putting together successful applications and we would be pleased to hear from you if want to discuss working with us.  At the moment, National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) can apply for over £100,000 for national project activity, but bear in mind the nature of what can be applied for is due to change in the autumn; either way the ongoing opportunity to apply for Project Grants is going to see arts organisations reach and impact audiences in new ways.

Other arts funding

Alongside opportunities to apply for statutory and public funding, there are also opportunities to apply to trusts and foundations (including local community foundations) as many of them have reframed and repurposed their funding programmes to support recovery in the arts.  These include some of the major UK’s funders like the Foyle Foundation which re-opened its main grants programme last month with a more flexible criteria in response to the new landscape. There are also small and medium sized trusts and foundations supporting the recovery of the arts, some of which are specific to certain disciplines such as music, theatre and independent cinema.

At the Philanthropy Company we are constantly scanning the horizon for new funding opportunities supporting arts and heritage, and we are currently helping organisations create compelling cases for support and funding applications.  If you are an arts or heritage organisation that needs help in planning your fundraising or creating compelling funding applications, please get in touch and we will be happy to explore how can support your fundraising journey in a post Covid-19 landscape.


[1] Cebr ‘Contribution of the arts and culture industry to the UK economy’ Arts Council report 2019

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