Support for arts education in response to Covid-19

15 April 2020

There have been a raft of different support programmes announced specifically for arts and cultural organisations in the past weeks, as well as support individuals working in arts and cultural education can access.

They are:


National Lottery Heritage Fund – Heritage Emergency Fund

£50 million has been allocated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for heritage organisations to address immediate pressures over the next three to six months. Grants of between £3,000 to £50,000 will be available.

To apply for the Heritage Emergency Fund, you must meet all three of the following criteria:

  • a not-for-profit organisation
  • a current or previous recipient of a grant directly from NLHF
  • an owner, manager or representative of heritage, or be able to show you have delivered participatory heritage activity

NLHF is prioritising where:

  • there is limited or no access to other sources of support
  • where heritage is most at risk
  • where an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to COVID-19

In order to address the crisis NLHF is halting all new grant applications.

NLHF has published guidance on the fund and a series of answers to FAQs on their website. The application window is 15 April to 30 June.


Arts Council England

On 24 March Arts Council England (ACE) announced an £160 million emergency funding package, using up almost all of their reserves for individuals and organisations in England.

£90 million has been allocated for National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs), £50 million for other organisations and £20 million for creative practitioners and cultural workers, including freelance arts educators.

ACE has explicitly said that the funding for individuals, a grant of £2,500, is available for ‘freelance educators in the disciplines and artforms we support’ and the funding can be used for:

  • Activity and/or equipment that will help you to sustain your practice and support you in continuing with your work
  • Time to stabilise, think and plan for the future

Key dates

For the funding for individuals and organisations who are not NPOs there are two rounds of funding. The deadline to register on Grantium has already passed for Round one.

Round one
Open 9 April   
Register on Grantium by 13 April      
Application deadline midday 16 April

Round two
Open 16 April
Register on Grantium by 27 April
Application deadline 30 April

Delay to ACE delivery plan

In January ACE published their new 10 year strategy Let’s Create and the three year delivery plan to accompany the strategy was due to be published this month. This has been, rightly, delayed and will now be published later this year. It will be interesting to see whether there are any material changes to the strategy in the light of Covid-19, and we hope that children and young people remain core to ACE’s planning.


Arts Council of Northern Ireland

On 27 March the Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, announced that she had instructed officials to create a £1 million emergency Creative Support Fund to support Artists, Performers and Creative Producers across the arts and cultural sector.

On 3 April Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland posted a video message which announced they will be launching the Artists' Emergency Programme, a ‘flexible and “light touch” scheme with an emphasis on making a speedy and flexible response to the hardship many are under’. The programme is planned to open mid-April.


Arts Council of Wales Resilience Fund

Arts Council of Wales announced on 1 April a £7 million Resilience Fund jointly financed by the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales. £1.5 million will be available to individuals and £5.5 for organisations. Currently all other open to application Arts Council of Wales funding programmes are paused. There will be three schemes, with phased launches:

  • Urgent Response Fund for Individuals: grants of up to £2,500 for individuals facing immediate financial difficulty and hardship. There are two rounds for applications:
  • Tuesday 14 April 2020 until Monday 20 April
  • Tuesday 28 April 2020 until Wednesday 6 May
    Applicants will need to fill in an application form and provide a CV and details of a professional referee. More details in the fund guidelines

  • Stabilisation Fund for Organisationsopen from 21 April until Friday 8 May. Arts Portfolio Wales organisations and organisations outside the Portfolio will be able to apply for support. More information on the fund and how to apply will be published on 16 April.

  • Stabilisation Fundfor Individuals to help build resilience and maintain creative practice. Grants of between £1,000 to £10,000. Information on this fund will be available from 23 April. Applications will be open from 29 May to 15 June.


Creative Scotland Covid-19 Impact Funds

Creative Scotland launched three funding programmes for individuals or organisations based in Scotland with a budget of £7.5 million. Funding is available to individuals and organisations to use on projects to ‘sustain their creative practice’.

The funds opened to applications on 30 March, although the Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary is currently closed to applications until 20 April.

Bursary payments are available for individuals of between £500 to £2,500 to support immediate needs:

The third programme, Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development, is open to individuals and organisations and can support activity for up to 12 months. Grants for projects can be from £1,000 to £50,000. There are no deadlines and you can apply any time during the year.


Information on Government support for individuals and self employed

Not specific to our sectors, but we are finding the information available on the Money Saving Expert site very helpful to understand the support available to employees and the self-employed, including information on furloughing staff and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.