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17 April 2020
Cultural and sporting fixtures were some of the first aspects of Welsh life to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with events cancelled before any legal restrictions were introduced.
The Welsh Government, and the bodies that support culture and sport in Wales, have responded with various schemes to help individuals and organisations affected by coronavirus.
On 1 April 2020, the Welsh Government announced £18 million to support culture, the creative industries and sport. This is a combination of Welsh Government funding, and money from other sources, such as the National Lottery.
Arts Council Wales is an independent charity that funds and develops the arts in Wales. It distributes funding from the Welsh Government and National Lottery.
On 7 April it launched the £7 million Arts Resilience Fund, £5.1 million of which is from the National Lottery. It intends to distribute £1.5 million to individuals, and £5.5 million to organisations.
- On 14 April 2020 the Arts Council launched the first round of applications for individuals facing immediate financial difficulty and hardship – the Urgent Response Fund for Individuals.
- On 21 April 2020 the Arts Council will open applications for a Stabilisation Fund for Organisations.
- On 29 May 2020 the Arts Council will open for applications to a Stabilisation Fund for Individuals.
The Arts Council also relaxed some of the conditions on funding it provides, and postponed a planned investment review into its revenue-funded organisations until 2021. Further information on these changes, along with other advice and information for the sector is available on its website here.
The Arts Council has also produced a guide to other sources of funding and support for the cultural sector.
Creative Wales, the Welsh Government’s new creative industries division, launched a £1 million fund to respond to the coronavirus emergency. This includes a Grassroots Music Relief Fund to support people – other than musicians – working in the music industry, with funding of up to £25,000 per business.
The Welsh Government also said that additional support will be available “for the TV and publishing sector to allow it to consider future opportunities”.
Businesses working in the creative industries may be eligible for general business support, which we have covered in a separate blog post.
Concerns have been raised that those working in the creative industries may fall through the cracks of this support. Research conducted by Creative Cardiff and Cardiff University’s Creative Economy Unit suggests that eligibility criteria “exclude significant parts of the freelance workforce”, and that compensation would be a “a fraction of the that received by furloughed PAYE employees”. These concerns have also been raised by media and entertainment union BECTU.
Other sources of support for the production sector include:
- The Film and TV Charity website has a page of help and advice. This includes grant and loans it is offering in conjunction with the BFI for film, TV and cinema workers that are facing significant financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
- The British Film Institute (BFI) has repurposed over £4.6 million of Lottery funding to target specific areas of the sector, including exhibitors, freelancers and producers. It has also adjusted criteria on existing schemes in response to issues such as cash flow and company overhead. More information is available on its website.
- The Creative Industries Federation has compiled a list of sources of support and advice on its website.
- BBC Cymru Wales has announced a package of support for the production sector.
- S4C has announced a package of support for the production sector. For further information see the broadcaster’s
Heritage, museums, libraries and archives
The Welsh Government’s announcement included a £1 million Cultural Resilience Fund for museums, collections, conservation services, archives and community and public libraries, to be made available on a grant application basis.
An additional £250,000 of Digital Library Resources will help public libraries to provide additional digital resources to the public, including things to read while self-isolating.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has established a £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund. The NLHF says that this fund will provide “short-term funding for organisations delivering heritage projects or running previously funded projects, and safeguarding heritage sites we have previously invested in to ensure they are not lost to the public”. The organisation is also relaxing its rules around other grants it has given.
The Welsh Museums Federation is managing a £325,000 COVID-19 resilience grant scheme for museums and heritage attractions.
Sport Wales is the national organisation responsible for developing and promoting sport and physical activity in Wales. It is due to lead an £8 million Sport Resilience Fund to support sports clubs and their networks. No further details are available at the time of writing. In addition to this:
- Sport Wales is also running a £400,000 Emergency Relief Fund for not-for-profit community sport.
- The Welsh Rugby Union has provided an additional £1,000to each of its member clubs.
- Sport Wales has produced a round-up of other forms of support available for sports organisation.
Article by Robin Wilkinson, Senedd Research, National Assembly for Wales
We’ve published a range of material on the coronavirus pandemic, including a post setting out the help and guidance available for people in Wales and a timeline of Welsh and UK governments’ response.
You can see all our coronavirus-related publications by clicking here. All are updated regularly.