On 30 July 2020, the Welsh Government announced £53 million for a Cultural Recovery Fund. £27.5m of that fund was earmarked for distribution by the Arts Council of Wales. In August 2020, applications opened for organisations, (including theatres and theatre companies, arts centres and galleries, choirs and brass bands) representing music, dance, theatre, literature, visual and applied arts, combined arts and digital art.
Applicants had to demonstrate that they provide publicly accessible arts activity in Wales, and that they have been significantly affected by the Covid‑19 pandemic. This was primarily a rescue and recovery package that had the overall goal of making sure that the arts sector in Wales survives the Covid-19 crisis and remains vibrant, viable and sustainable.
The funds distributed by the Arts Council of Wales had two elements – capital, to allow organisations to make changes to venues to better cope with the need for social distancing (£2m); and revenue, to support organisations facing urgent financial difficulties, and to protect as many jobs in the culture sector as possible (£25.5m). Organisations could apply for both elements of the fund. The fund provides support to cover the period between October 2020 until March 2021.
Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said:
“I have been hugely impressed by the speed and efficiency with which the Arts Council of Wales staff have distributed grants through their element of the Cultural Recovery Fund. The need amongst arts organisations has been very apparent during recent months – and payments are also being approved and allocated from the Welsh Government’s element of the Cultural Recovery Fund and Freelance Fund - and together, this support will help ensure that the arts sector is supported during the coming months, while Covid-19 related restrictions continue in place.
“The Arts sector clearly has a crucial role to play in renewing and revitalising the society and economy of Wales as we look forward to emerging from the restrictions of the present pandemic in due course.”
Phil George, Chair of Arts Council of Wales said:
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of the entire arts sector in Wales in thanking Welsh Government for this support. They have recognised the importance of the arts in Wales, and the necessity of protecting those organisations who bring so much enjoyment and contribute so profoundly to the wellbeing of people in communities across Wales. This is a clear investment in the future of the arts in Wales – uncertain though that future might appear at present.”
Nick Capaldi Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales said:
“This funding provides urgent and vital support to the many arts organisations across Wales who are in financial peril. If we want vibrant and exciting arts to still be there for us to enjoy in a post-pandemic Wales, we need to take the action needed now, to protect those whose income has disappeared as the economic impact of the pandemic continues to bite”.
The funding announced today supports important organisations, large and small, right across Wales. Awards for both capital and revenue funding include Aberystwyth Arts Centre (£599,448); Burry Port Town Band (£12,880); Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (£558,993)’ Cory Band, Treorchy (£19,855); Disability Arts Cymru (£33,349); Forget-me-Not Chorus, Cardiff (£22,500); Galeri, Caernarfon (£934,424); National Youth Arts Wales (£189,074); Oriel Davies, Newtown (£61,935); Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre, Newport (£126,770); Ruthin Craft Centre (£32,689); St David’s Hall, Cardiff (£1,208,710); Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan (£228,000); Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham (£96,411);Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (£3,900,180).
160 applications were received into the revenue fund with a total value of £19,040,043. The lowest award was £1,700 and the highest £3,406,352. The average award was £119,019 and the success rate of applications to the revenue fund was 95% with the total value of grants to be distributed being £18,091,013.
It’s estimated that this funding could help to protect at least 1,800 jobs across the arts in Wales.
The total number of applications to the capital fund was 61 with a total value of applications being £2,164,332. The lowest award was £1,995 and the highest £493,828. The average award was £34,234 and the success rate of applications to the capital fund was 92% with the total value of grants to be distributed being £1,917,126.
Successful applicants have also committed to sign up to a ‘Cultural Contract’ - designed to encourage organisations to reach more people, improve the diversity of their boards and workforce, provide new opportunities for freelance artists, commit to fair rates of pay, and improve the environmental impact of what they do.
- Arts Council of Wales is the official public body charged with funding and supporting the arts in Wales.
- The Arts Council of Wales has been managing funds for theatres, arts centres and concert halls, galleries, organisations producing and touring arts activity, organisations providing participatory arts activity (including publicly funded, commercial, local authority and University applications).
- Applications to the fund opened on Monday 17th August and closed on Wednesday 9th September. Organisations were told that they would be informed about the outcome of their application within six weeks – so by 21 October. All organisations have now been informed. Details of organisations funded are listed here.
- The Welsh Government is managing funds for grass roots music venues, heritage sites, local museums, libraries and archive services, events and festivals, independent cinemas, individual freelance creative professionals. The Welsh Government will be making announcements about the funding that it will be offering over the coming weeks.