New programmes to support arts and cultural organisations and the heritage sector in Northern Ireland have been announced.
On behalf of Northern Ireland's Department for Communities, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will deliver a £7.75 million programme of support, the aim of which is to help Northern Ireland's arts and cultural sector recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations, grants of up to £500,000 will be available to arts and cultural sector organisations such as galleries, theatres, grassroots music venues, comedy venues, and arts, cultural and community centres to help them respond to the immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Assistance offered will include help with reopening, adapting and stabilising organisations in the long-term.
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Tourism NI's website quotes Northern Ireland communities minister Carál Ní Chuilín as saying, "This funding aims to not only save many organisations from collapse, and to retain specialists within the sector, but to help them adapt to the challenges ahead. I am determined that this sector will emerge stronger than ever and that it will also be fit-for-purpose to take on the huge challenge of helping those who need help the most.”
Arts Council of Nothern Ireland chief executive Roisín McDonough stated, "The Arts Council is pleased to open the Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations, and thanks the minister for making this funding available. This financial aid is very much needed to strengthen the durability of the wider sector in these difficult times. Our research clearly evidences that more funding is needed to help arts and cultural businesses reopen and flourish over the next few years so that they may continue to contribute fully to our economy and to our society."
Heritage Recovery Fund
Meanwhile, a new £5.5 million heritage recovery fund will help organisations and individuals in Northern Ireland's heritage sector, such as organisations that manage heritage sites or visitor centres, private owners of heritage sites, venues or attractions, organisations that manage, maintain or care for culturally significant assets or collections, and businesses that are part of the heritage ecosystem, to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
The National Lottery Heritage Recovery Fund Northern Ireland is also being delivered on behalf of Northern Ireland's Department for Communities.
Grants from £3,000 to £250,000 will be available to heritage organisations to help them respond to the immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis and support their future sustainability.
Self-employed individuals working in the heritage sector will also be able to apply for grants of up to £5,000.
Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland Paul Mullan stated, "The heritage sector is still facing a testing future, and this funding will be a lifeline for many organisations and individuals who need support to recover from this pandemic.
"As an organisation, we have been actively working to support the sector throughout this crisis, but we know we are not out of the woods yet. We welcome this funding from the Department for Communities to help protect our much loved heritage in Northern Ireland from being permanently lost.
"Heritage is hugely valuable for us all. It is vital in creating economic prosperity, in making local communities better places to live, and in supporting our own personal sense of wellbeing. I would urge eligible organisations to apply for this funding."
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