FOLLOWING high demand for funding support across the arts and cultural sectors a further £10.7m will be made available to support organisations and individuals during the pandemic, taking the total funding package available through the Cultural Recovery Fund to £63.7m.
This is in addition to an £18m portfolio package provided in April, which was delivered by the Welsh Government, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Wales and Sport Wales.
The announcement comes as many organisations and individuals are already benefiting from the Cultural Recovery Fund.
Benefiting from the Freelancer Fund, Roanna Lewis, actress, writer and director from Rhondda Cynon Taf, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to have been offered a Freelancer Fund Grant. After months of being worried if I could sustain myself, this grant will mean that I can continue to stay in the field of work that I’ve trained in and professionally worked in for 6 years. Stories, entertainment and the arts is even more important now than it was before and all of these elements are created by freelancers.”
Eve Hughes Butterly, a professional dancer, performer and teacher/instructor from Flintshire, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been truly devastating to what my life revolves around. The creative and performing arts industry is my career and a huge part of my identity, my being and has shaped me to who I am today. To dance, sing and perform live is a thrill and pure joy that cannot be replaced by anything else. I feel truly honoured and grateful to have been awarded the recovery grant, it has enabled me to keep the faith that what I do as a performer and teacher is admirable, valuable and worth keeping alive.”
Henry Widdicombe, Machynlleth Comedy festival said: “The award of Cultural Recovery Funds by Welsh Government, put simply, is the difference between our organisation surviving the pandemic and not. The arts wholesale lost their ability to operate overnight earlier this year, and the faith placed in us through this fund mean that we will be able to return when it is safe and legal to do so, and gives us the ability to forward plan for when events can take place again. We welcome all support for the arts in Wales and have hope that the sector can survive this thanks in large part to the distribution of these funds.”
This additional funding will be targeted towards the large number of applications, which have already been received by the Welsh Government – supporting organisations in the cultural, creative, events and heritage sectors – to ensure this money reaches more parts of the sector as quickly as possible.
The funding will be used to open a third phase of the successful Freelancer Fund which will see a further £3.5 million being made available nationwide across all local authority areas from 10am on Monday 23 November to freelancers in the creative sector.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “In Wales, we want to do everything possible to ensure our arts, culture, heritage and creativity survive this pandemic. In recognition of how hard the sector has been hit, we’re investing an additional £10.7m to provide further help to reach as many parts of the sector as possible. This takes us well beyond the £59m consequential received from the UK Government in July highlighting the value we put on the sector’s contribution to Welsh life and the wider economy – and that must continue in the future. We recognise that we’ll need the professionalism, experience, enthusiasm and vison of these professionals to help us come together and rebuild after the public health crisis has abated.”
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said: “We recognise and understand the financial challenges that the sector is continuing to face. The additional funding we are announcing today will boost the level of support that we have already provided to help the industry to survive these unprecedented times and recover, post-pandemic.”
The £7m Freelancer Fund has already supported 2,800 freelancers with a grant of £2,500 each. This additional funding will support a further 1,400 people.
To date more than £30m has been distributed through the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, with the Arts Council of Wales allocating a £20m package for the sector last month.