Northern Ireland news

Northern Ireland creatives given £2.7m in bid to save the region's arts sector

Costume assistant and textile artist Sarah Carey from Newtownabbey will use her funding towards expert training in shoemaking

DETAILS of how more than £2.7 million of recovery funding has been distributed across Northern Ireland's `creative economy' have been released.

The Creative Individuals Recovery Programme (CIRP), from the Department for Communities and Arts Council of Northern Ireland offers grants of up to £2,000 to help individuals with work linked to their practice or art form.

The Arts Council said 1,433 individuals have shared £2,711,816 to deal with the costs of "maintaining and enhancing their creative trade, vocation or profession".

It was launched in September in a bid to stop the north's creative economy haemorrhaging talent due to the strains of the pandemic and coronavirus restrictions.

Research revealed many of the self-employed and freelance individuals on which the sector relies heavily have already left because of the pandemic.

Those remaining, report facing unaffordable costs to carry on their creative practice.

Arts Council chief executive Roísín McDonough thanked Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey for making the funding available.

"Research demonstrates there is currently a significant risk that the talent pool of artists and creatives we need in Northern Ireland to support our creative ecosystem, will disappear as individuals leave to find alternative work.

"That would take Northern Ireland years to recover from."

Ms Hargey said the sector is "seriously impacted by Covid restrictions as it relies heavily on people's ability to get together".

"We cannot afford to lose our creative talent and it is vital that we safeguard the sector for the future."

Grants have been made to textile artists, composers and community visual artists among others.

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Northern Ireland news