Northern Ireland

Covid-19: £13m emergency fund for Northern Ireland arts and heritage

Roisin McDonough from the Arts Council. Picture by Hugh Russell
Roisin McDonough from the Arts Council. Picture by Hugh Russell

ARTS venues and heritage sites can apply for more than £13 million of emergency funding during the Covid-19 crisis.

A total of £7.75m is being made available for the arts and £5.5m for heritage, as part of £29m agreed by the Stormont executive for the cultural sector.

Arts venues and organisations can apply for grants of up to £500,000 while museums, visitors centres and other heritage sites can seek up to £250,000.

Many venues such as theatres and museums have been closed or running at limited capacity since March due to the pandemic, with some having to lay off staff.

The heritage funding is being managed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), while the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) will manage the arts funding.

NLHF's Heritage Recovery Fund opens on Monday and will provide grants from £3,000 to £250,000. Decisions on awards will be made in January.

Individuals working in the sector will also be able to apply for grants of up to £5,000.

ACNI's Stability and Renewal Programme opened yesterday for applications.

More than £3m has already been spent to provide some income to more than 1,000 people who work in the arts.

Roisín McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council, said: "This financial aid is very much needed to strengthen the durability of the wider sector in these difficult times."

Communities minister Carál Ní Chuilín said the funding aims to save organisations from "collapse" and "help them adapt to the challenges ahead".