Arts Council of Wales has invested nearly £5.5million pounds of funding to help hard‑pressed artists and arts organisations to defend themselves against the disastrous loss of income caused by the Covid‑19 pandemic. The Arts Council launched a Resilience Fund at the beginning of April and it has now concluded the first phase of its emergency investment.
The support comes from a £7.5m fund created by the Arts Council working with the Welsh Government. The financial rescue package was also supported thanks to players of the National Lottery, the generosity of the Freelands Foundation and contributions from Tŷ Cerdd and Literature Wales.
Commenting today, Phil George, the Chair of the Arts Council of Wales said:
“When Covid hit, we knew that we had to move quickly to protect the arts from a catastrophic collapse. Overnight, important arts organisations saw their earned income disappear, while freelancers were left with no work and no prospect of work. Since April, Arts Council staff have worked round the clock to try and get emergency funding to where it’s most needed. People working in the arts remain deeply anxious about the future, but we’ve helped buy time for what will need to be longer term solutions that can sustain the arts.”
To date, the Arts Council has awarded nearly £5.5 million pounds of funding to individual artists, creative practitioners and arts organisations. 616 grants worth more than £2 million have been made to individuals and over £3 million has been given to over a hundred different organisations.
Commenting today, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS said:
“I have been hugely impressed by the speed and efficiency with which the Arts Council of Wales staff have distributed grants through this resilience fund. The need amongst artists, freelance practitioners, and arts organisations has been expressed widely during recent months, and this fund has helped many individuals who were not able to access support from other sources.
“It is also encouraging that this fund has reached new artists and those who had little contact with the Arts Council previously. The Arts sector clearly has a crucial role to play in renewing and revitalizing the society and economy of Wales as we begin to emerge from the restrictions of the present pandemic.”
Earlier this month, the UK Government announced a £1.57 billion support package for the UK arts, culture and heritage sectors, of which £59 million is identified as being for the benefit of Wales through the Barnett formula.
Nick Capaldi Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales said:
“Pleased though we’ve been to be able to provide this initial support, in many ways the real hard work begins now with the funding balances remaining from this first phase carried forward to support activity during the rest of the year. With UK furloughing and other support schemes ending in the coming months, we need to work with the Welsh Government to find urgent ways of securing the survival of a sector that contributes so much to our well‑being and quality of life.”