• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email

Arts organisations facing insolvency or redundancies can apply for up to £150,000 as Scotland delays the return of live events.

Street art in Glasgow. The new fund aims to prevent job losses and support the sector through Covid-19.

A £15m culture recovery fund for Scotland will support the arts organisations deemed "most critical" to the country's cultural life.

The Scottish Government launched the Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund on Thursday. Organisations have just one week from Thursday 17 September to apply for between £10,000 and £150,000 - or up to £250,000 in exceptional cases - to see them through to March 2021.

Government guidance says the fund will be prioritised towards organisations that have received little or no support in the past, and are in dire financial straits due to Covid-19.


While Scotland's fund is similar in design and purpose to that managed by Arts Council England, it is distinguished by its focus on saving jobs.

"How job losses will be minimised" is one of three assessment criteria, alongside financial stability and cultural, social and economic significance.

"The fund will not be able to replace all income lost, but the aim is to protect jobs and to help organisations to avoid insolvency," the application guidance says.

"We expect this fund to be oversubscribed and therefore do not expect that we will be able to fund everybody."

Live events on hold

The fund's launch comes as Scotland delays the return of live events amid rising coronavirus cases.

An indicative date for resuming seated, socially-distanced indoor events was pushed back on Thursday from 14 September to 5 October. Standing indoor events such as concerts are on hold indefinitely.

Scotland continues to have much tighter restrictions on the performing arts sector than England, with two-metre social distancing for rehearsals and outdoor activities and a ban on performing to audiences indoors.

The Scottish Government said that positive case numbers have risen from an average of 10 to 20 a day to 150 per day, pushing the reproduction rate ('R' number) above a one-to-one ratio: "When the R number goes above one then this signals that the virus is likely to spread further," a recovery update on Thursday said.

Two pilot sports matches will take place this weekend but "the piloting of other live events will be considered on a case by case basis".

Incorporated Society of Musicians Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said the announcement was "disappointing news".

"The arts, entertainment and recreation sector is currently the worst affected sector, so we welcome the Scottish Government's decision to use a portion of their Culture Recovery Fund to provide £5 million in grant funding for creative freelancers in financial hardship."

Other funding

This is the second of five emergency funds for the Scottish arts sector, totalling £31.5m.

These include the £5m Creative Freelancer Hardship Fund, £5m for sustaining creative practice, £3.5m for independent cinemas and £3m for youth arts.

A sixth fund for performing arts venues closed late last month after receiving 42 applications.

Organisations that have already applied to one of these funds are still able to apply for a share of the £15m; "however, if they are successful they will only be awarded a grant from one of the funds," the guidance says.

Creative Scotland will manage applications on the Scottish Government's behalf. Chief Executive Iain Munro said "our top priority is the delivery of these funds to the sector as quickly as possible".

Funding decisions are expected to be made in early November.

“The challenges presented to the culture and creative sector by the Covid-19 pandemic are only too real and are not going to go away quickly or easily," Munro said.

"While we know that this funding won’t be able to meet every challenge, it will help to protect jobs and support the sustainability of organisations wherever possible."