Here’s how museums can apply for the Culture Recovery Fund

Details of £880m support package for English arts, culture and heritage released
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Rebecca Atkinson
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Statues at Birmingham Museums Trust, which is undergoing a redundancy consultation
Statues at Birmingham Museums Trust, which is undergoing a redundancy consultation Birmingham Museums Trust
Details of the UK government-backed funding package to support the UK’s creative industries, including museums and heritage, have been released with £880m available for arts, culture and heritage through four funders.
A total of £622m will be distributed in the first round of the funding, including £500m from Arts Council England (ACE) to support English institutions across the arts and cultural sector. This allocation includes £2.25m in emergency support for grassroots music venues, which was announced last week.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England will deliver £92m worth of grants to heritage sites and businesses in England. The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage opens for applications this week and closes at midday on 17 August. It will be open to:
  • Heritage organisations managing a heritage site or visitor attraction
  • Private owners of a heritage site, venue or attraction
  • Organisations managing, maintaining or caring for culturally significant assets or collections
  • Businesses that are a vital part of the heritage ecosystem, including conservators, contractors, specialists and suppliers
  • Organisations that manage culturally significant assets or collections
  • Non-accredited museums are eligible. (Accredited museums and those working towards accreditation should apply to the Culture Recovery Fund through Arts Council England.)  
The British Film Institute will oversee a £30m grant scheme for independent cinemas.
The remaining £258m will be reserved for later in the financial year “to meet the developing needs of organisations”, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.
The arts council will distribute £500m in funding in two rounds – the first open to applications from 10-21 August and the second open from 21 August to 4 September. It estimates that at least 75% of the overall budget will be allocated in round one.
Grants of between £50,000 and £3m will be available to arts and cultural organisations, including charitable and non-profit organisations, private organisations and commercial for-profit ventures. Local authorities, universities and other public sector bodies who run or maintain cultural services can also apply.
The Culture Recovery Fund was established to support cultural organisations affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to stay afloat.
“Successful applicants for grants will need to have an innovative plan for how they will operate and be sustainable for the remainder of this financial year, and be able to demonstrate their international, national or local significance,” DCMS said in a statement.
“Smaller organisations must show how they benefit their local community and area.”
It also announced that an independent Culture Recovery Board will be chaired by Damon Buffini, a businessman and governor of the Wellcome Trust, to help administer the programme, advising on the largest grant as well deciding the beneficiaries of a £270m repayable finance element of the £1.57bn package.
Responding to the announcement, Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association, said: “We warmly welcome this investment in our museums at this challenging time for the sector.
“We have seen from the recent announcements about redundancies in Birmingham and York that the crisis is having a very real impact on our museums and the people that work in them. I hope that the funding will enable organisations to stave off the immediate crisis and allow some breathing space to regroup and think about the future.   
“Museums are continuing to work with and support their communities in these difficult times and they need ongoing public investment to do that. We will be working with other sector organisations to make a strong case for that investment through the Comprehensive Spending Review and beyond so that museums can play a full part in the recovery of our civic and cultural life.”

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