The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has confirmed that it is willing to be flexible about the amount organisations in England can apply for in round two of the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).
The Museums Association (MA) and other sector organisations had raised concerns that the ceiling on the amount applicants can request in the current round, which closes on Tuesday 26 January, would unfairly limit some organisations.
Guidance from the department states that grant requests should be limited to 25% of turnover and, if applicable, a maximum of 50% of any grant received by the applicant in the first CRF round.
The DCMS has since signalled that it will show greater flexibility on the limits. The DCMS has told sector bodies that: “The 25% of turnover / 50% of CRF1 were introduced by DCMS to the second round process on advice from Cabinet Office about grant standards. However, it is an expectation rather than a fixed requirement – we recognise that some organisations will need more than this and applicants can ask for it if they can set out a case (including on seasonality of income).
“Arts Council England (ACE) will be scrutinising these cases closely, as we expect this round will see very high demand and need to use the funding available as best we can.”
The updated guidance also confirms that the grants can be used to cover spending in the period of April to June in the next financial year.
The MA’s policy manager, Alistair Brown, said: “The CRF has been a lifeline for many museums in England, and we’re really pleased that the final tranche of funding is being made available at a point when the sector is completely closed and many are worrying about how to stay afloat in the next financial year. And it’s good to see that DCMS are willing to show some flexibility on how grants will be awarded as this has been a real source of concern for many museums considering applying.
“We are encouraging all eligible museums to apply for this funding, particularly as there is no guarantee of further emergency funding beyond the CRF scheme.”
Funding bodies across the UK are also offering greater flexibility on spending deadlines for emergency grants distributed in previous rounds. A combination of lockdown and furlough has meant that, in some cases, museums will not be able to deliver programmes before their funding is due to be spent.
Museums Journal understands that ACE is advising grantees that spending must be committed and can be held in reserves, while in Scotland, projects funded under the Recovery and Resilience Fund can apply to Museums Galleries Scotland for an extension to 30 June where they can show that the new lockdown has made delivery to the original timetable impossible.