Northern Ireland news

Arts Council opens £500,000 emergency fund to help organisations affected by Covid-19

Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey said the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP), which is worth £500,000, would "offer equality of opportunity and access for a broad range of people". Picture: Pacemaker Belfast
Marie Louise McConville

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has opened an emergency fund to help organisations affected by Covid-19.

The Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP), which is worth £500,000, offers organisations the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each.

The funding will help small and medium-sized organisations continue their creative work, assist with operational costs and help them plan a recovery.

The OEP fund will offer a lifeline to arts organisations at a time when the sector has been decimated under quarantine conditions, the closure of theatres, venues and galleries, the cancellation of festivals and events and the disappearance of live audiences.

The OEP is one element of a wider £1.5m funding package recently announced by Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities, to support the arts and wider culture sectors during the current pandemic.

Speaking about the funding, the minister said it would "offer equality of opportunity and access for a broad range of people".

 

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: "Funding for the arts in Northern Ireland was already in a fragile state pre-Covid-19 and we estimate that since the pandemic, organisations are facing deficits just under £4m; a figure which may increase as the year progresses.

"We hope this support will help buy them creative time to produce new ideas for programming, plan for recovery and help them withstand the shock to their organisation of substantial loss of income during lockdown".

The OEP programme will remain open for applications until 4pm on Friday, June 12.

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