Rhinegold The Royal Albert Hall has received a £20.74m 'lifeline'

Harriet Clifford

‘Crown jewels of UK culture’ offered ‘lifeline’ in next round of CRF

10:36, 11th December 2020

Today, the next portion of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) has been announced, providing a ‘lifeline’ to arts and heritage organisations around the country including the Royal Albert Hall, National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Nottingham’s Broadway, and more.

Arts Council England, who is distributing the funds, announced that the Capital Kickstart Fund will deliver £58.8 million in grants to 74 arts organisations of all sizes whose capital projects were impacted by the pandemic. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has also announced that the Repayable Finance programme will provide £165 million to 11 ‘nationally and internationally significant’ organisations. 

Among the arts organisations in receipt of a Repayable Finance loan is the Royal Albert Hall. CEO Craig Hassell said, ‘I am delighted that the Royal Albert Hall has been offered a £20.74m loan from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund announced in July – a desperately-needed lifeline from Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Arts Council England (ACE).’

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said, ‘The £1 billion invested so far through the Culture Recovery Fund has protected tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK, with more support still to come through a second round of applications. Today we’re extending a huge helping hand to the crown jewels of UK culture – so that they can continue to inspire future generations all around the world.’ 

Also announced today is the £400 million available through the next round of the Culture Recovery Fund, helping organisations ‘look to the future’ through a combination of grants and repayable finance. 

Recipients of the fund have begun expressing their gratitude on social media today using the #HereForCulture and #CultureRecoveryFund hashtags, with Opera North tweeting: ‘Incredibly grateful to have received a Capital Kickstart award from @ace_national & @DCMS.

This will support our major redevelopment #ONMusicWorks, mitigating some of the impacts of the pandemic so we can be #HereForCulture.’

Following the first round of funding, it emerged that publicly thanking the government was a condition of receiving the funding. 

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and others have pointed out that this latest injection of funds does little to support freelancers, although  a contribution has been made to the Theatre Artists Fund, which works with freelancers not eligible to apply for grants.

ISM’s chief executive said, ‘While we welcome the next round of the Cultural Recovery Fund [sic] providing vital support for arts organisations, once again the freelance community have been ignored. In 2019, music contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy, but this year those who create music and are the lifeblood of our industry will lose two-thirds of their income due to coronavirus.

‘With livelihoods on the line, we are calling on the UK government to provide urgent funding for the thousands of creative freelancers excluded from government support and to publish a clear roadmap for the return of live performance in 2021. These measures are essential for preventing an exodus of highly skilled talent and getting our world-leading arts sector back on its feet.’

Further information about the CRF can be found at www.artscouncil.org.uk 

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