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£150m is available to previous grantees only, with a special sustainability programme for the highest-funded applicants.

The £150m funding round is only open to previous grant winners

Visit Bradford

A third round of the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) opens next week to organisations that have already benefitted from the scheme.

£150m will be distributed to previous grantees only as part of a 'continuity support' programme. A separate £20m CRF scheme for those who have not received grants before opened last month.

Unlike that fund, continuity support applicants need not undergo a pre-application stage. Grants of £25,000 or more are available to organisations at risk of financial failure before April 2022.


Only costs between November 2021 and January 2022 will be covered, giving the sector a buffer as it adjusts to an expected loss of income even as restrictions are removed.

Further grants of £250,000 to £1m are available through an additional sustainability funding programme. 

However, Arts Council England (ACE) says it will only consider these in exceptional circumstances: "There is a possibility that we may not support any bids."

Funding across all three CRF rounds is capped at £4m for non-profits, universities and local authorities, or £1.5m for commercial businesses.

ACE advises applicants not to ask for more than 25% of annual pre-Covid income, 50% of their CRF round 1 grants or their total round 2 grant.

Applications open midday August 16 and close midday on August 27.

ACE says it aims to announce awards by the end of October.

Sustainability funding

The sustainability funding strand will shore up previous CRF investment and "ensure the protection of the country's most important cultural, creative and heritage assets".

"Sustainability funding is for strongly cultural significant organisations who have previously received funding via the Culture Recovery Fund but whose financial future is particularly vulnerable," ACE guidance says.

Applicants must have a pre-Covid turnover of £1m or more and have received at least £250,000 from the fund already.

Just 330 of more than 5,000 organisations exceeded that threshold with a single CRF grant; however, those who won that amount across both rounds are also eligible.

ACE says the programme is for operational reform, covering the costs of a staffing restructure, governance changes, "significant ongoing liabilities" like a pricey lease or necessary systems upgrades.

One-off costs - Covid-19 safety equipment or adaptations to facilitate social distancing, for example - can be funded but all other financing options must have been exhausted.

Successful applicants will be assigned an ACE monitoring manager.

"You should be ready to work quickly with the monitoring manager during the November-December period to develop your plans appropriately," ACE says.

Although all the funded development activity must wrap up before April, "we will require successful organisations to provide an ongoing commitment to working with the Arts Council beyond the end of the funding period," ACE adds.

Eligibility criteria

ACE says priority will be given to organisations that can demonstrate their need for further funding as other Government schemes come to an end.

Successful applicants that failed to meet accessibility standards in their initial application will be asked to update ACE on their plans.

Like previous rounds, payment will be conditional on organisations cutting or freezing salaries for their highest paid staff, and commitments to improve access, diversity, environmental sustainability and educational outreach.

Funding can be granted for programming, staffing, and other operational costs. Covid-19 related debt is also eligible for funding, but organisations cannot use their grants to repay loans from Government or local authorities.

Grants will be made in two payments - 70% at first and the remaining 30% once all requirements are met.

Organisations must meet conditions around subsidy control - a post-Brexit legal requirement similar to old State Aid rules - that caused confusion and delays for commercial CRF grantees in the previous round.

ACE's guidance says successful applicants "will be asked to publicise the decision in an appropriate manner". The careful wording follows a controversy in which first round applicants were told thanking the Government was mandatory.