Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
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Webinar Q&A: Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations

Monday 16th November 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments


You mentioned small capital costs however, for renewal and future stability if digital presence is becoming more important and web development/websites etc was on the application, would this be eligible (it may be considered as a large capital cost)?
If modest equipment is required and this can be purchased between the decision date at the end of January and 31st March 2021 this would be eligible.
When is the application to AFP going to be open and due? Are these two applications going to be running simultaneously?
AFP will be announced in the new year. The SRPO and AFP will not be running simultaneously.

Can I ask about “supporting and generating new apprenticeship opportunities” - England announces a Kickstart scheme in the summer, which I believe isn’t in place in N.Ireland.  Is there any guidance or structure needed for how an apprenticeship must be delivered?
We don’t have specific guidance on how an apprenticeship must be delivered .We would recommend contacting Creative and Cultural Skills NI who have delivered excellent apprenticeship programmes in the creative sector  NI.  

Does this fund offer programming costs? Noreen you said that we should look to the Community fund for programme costs but the guidance says that you will fund - "New projects which reach different audiences and users"
Yes you can apply for programming if it can be delivered between decision date end of January and 31st March 2021.
If venues are able to apply for funding for projects rather than costs incurred due to covid, is it feasible for independent organisations to apply to this funding for a single PROJECT to be executed during this window? The project helping with company renewal and sustainability while employing creatives...
Yes you can apply for programming if it can be delivered between decision date end of January and 31st March 2021.
There is a stipulation that a bank account with two signatories is required, is there any flexibility in this regard? As long as it will be addressed can it be sorted out after submission but prior to potential payment?
It can be addressed after submission but in the event of any award, successful applicants will be required to modify their bank account to ensure that it meets the requirements to have at least 2 unrelated bank signatories to make withdrawals from the bank account.  In the event that applicants are unable to do this we would be unable to make relevant payments and applicants would be ineligible to receive funding.

I know of at least one that would need to make changes to their account set up to meet this but as of last night didn’t know if they could ensure that this would be sorted by submission deadline.
As per answer above – it would need to be addressed in order to take up any award if successful.
If this funding is for renewal, could it be used to rent out a new premises?
You can apply for rental on premises up to 31st March 2021.  

Could you ask for money to update contingency plans and market research?
Yes if this is critical to your future sustainability and renewal.  

Will AFP be due in December, the outcome of this fund would obviously have an impact on those plans?
AFP will be announced in the new year. The SRPO and AFP will not be running simultaneously .The SRPO will have a critical impact on organisations who are regularly funded by the Arts Council in terms of deficit clearance and future stability.

Could we seek funding for hiring freelance creatives, designers, directors for productions and contract and pay them before March 31st
You can apply for staff and artists costs up to 31st March 2021.  

What level of reporting will be required to successful applications?
Reporting requirements will be made clear to successful applicants in their letter of offer but recipients must send us any information and records that we reasonably request to monitor their project and determine how the grant is being used. An income and expenditure report will be required to close out the award. If required, the Arts Council may request your organisation to take part in a survey upon completion of the grant. 

As this is public funding, we will undertake verification of relevant paperwork in the future at an appropriate level and reserve the right to do so with any award recipient in due course.
If we contract consultant for support with developing on our strategy for stability and renewal, and they’re contracted and paid by end of March, in the same way as commissioning artist fees - is this eligible, even work goes on beyond March?
No this would not be an eligible cost this would be a pre-payment unlike creative work which is a commissioning fee to an artist which is permitted.  

Will there be representation on the assessment panel for the supply chain companies to the live events industry, who have never needed funding before, but who are integral to the survival of the sector.
It has not been designated by DfC; however we will be seeking advice from other specialist bodies on a range of areas.  

Will there also be an annual AFP application process this for 2021/22 and if so what are the timelines?
AFP will be announced in the new year. The SRPO and AFP will not be running simultaneously .The timelines will be published then.  

Just to clarify - this fund is for new programmes which may take place in Feb & Mar. Can you also apply for specific deficits incurred from April 2020 for other programmes which ran at a loss?
Yes, the emphasis on this programme is for deficits as a result of Covid-19 in order to make organisations more sustainable for the future, so loss of income from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021 is eligible.  

Back to the 'small organisation' question - I think it's in relation to 'scale' referred to earlier in terms of the size of renewal plan required- would it relate to the number of employees?
We do not have a definition of a small organisation. If you are eligible to apply based on your constitution and working in the creative sector the number of employees is not a factor.  

Is the budget limit per org or per project? Unlikely to be an issue for us but worth asking for benefit of all here.
£500k is the organisation award limit NOT the project within an application limit.  
Are March 2020 losses incurred from covid19 closure eligible?
Yes as Covid hit mid-March losses from then can included.  

Are you expecting forecast accounts for the next 2-3 years in the Renewal Plan?
We don’t specify however the more informative the renewal plan the better.   

Would it be possible to re- clarify what is meant by the phrase "change orientated" in terms of the renewal plan- again thanks all for the help and guidance today
Please consider any learning and adaptions you have had to make to your business as a result of covid-19 which you may wish to carry forward, and how you will face the challenges of the future for example environmental impacts.

If hp costs are not covered how do we recoup depreciation of equipment which will need replacing as it becomes obsolete
Depreciation is a non cash movement and would be ineligible for funding under this programme.

I appreciate that we can't enter into any contracts ahead of an offer but can we secure quotes (eg the week ahead of 29 Jan) so that, if successful in being awarded funding, we are ready to move quickly given the tight spend window? eg for a new website
Yes if the total project can be delivered by 31st March 2021   

Will AFP still consider new applicants?
We are working through the strategic approach to AFP 2021/22 with the Board of the Arts Council and all details will be published in the new year.
To allow for the potential of duplicate funding, and given the fact that we won't know the results of one fund before submitting the requirements on another, is it permissible to over-reach on this fund application and  potentially then be able to reduce the grant once we know about the previous award?
Yes; if you are awaiting the outcome of a capital application you may include modest elements you may have applied for under SRPO and the award can be adjusted if necessary.    
As an organisation that has taken elements of our work online during lockdown, our experience is there is already "virtual fatigue" and in the absence of physical engagement people are disengaging with the arts completely. Why is Arts Council not being more vocal/visual in advocating for the sector to be permitted to reopen in the way the hospitality sector is, given that venues can open much more safely than pubs and restaurants?   
This hasn’t been our perception, as virtual engagement may well have expanded the reach of the arts to people hitherto unable to access. But we have been constantly engaging with Government to promote the cause of the arts and arts venues.

Many organisations took on small Bounce BACK LOANS since March 2020 in order to keep our doors open, Can these loans be included as part of our in year deficit
Yes in principle; we will assess any requests for repayment of bounce back loans on a case by case basis.


The Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations closes at 12noon on Friday 27th November 2020. 

Visit for more information and to apply.


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