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£500,000 fund to support the safe re-opening of the arts and culture sectors

Thursday 10th September 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments

Health and Safety Capital Programme Image: Health and Safety Capital Programme

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thursday 10th September 2020) opened the Health and Safety Capital Programme, a new fund, worth £500,000, designed to support arts and culture organisations as they prepare to re-open after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Many arts and culture organisations are among the last phase five groups eagerly awaiting permission from the NI Executive to re-open. The Health and Safety Capital Programme is one element of the wider £5.5m funding package announced by Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, Department for Communities, to support the arts, creative industries and cultural sectors during the current pandemic.

Communities Minister Caral Ní Chuilín said,

“I am delighted that the Health and Safety Capital Programme has opened today allowing our arts venues and cultural spaces the opportunity to make preparations for their safe re-opening.  This is a vital step towards recovery for the sector while also ensuring its future resilience.

“In addition to this, the Department has submitted a bid to the Executive for £33m to secure financial support here to support culture, language, arts and heritage organisations, local musicians, freelancers and artists at a time when they are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

This programme will fund necessary adjustments and protective equipment required by venues and organisations to ensure that social distancing is maintained and that audiences, performers and staff are kept safe.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

“The Arts Council welcomes the public funding partnership and support shown by Minister Ní Chuilín for the arts and culture sectors. The vital health and safety capital programme opened today will bring us closer to re-opening our venues and cultural spaces safely.  It was developed in response to Covid-19 and much needed to help our arts and cultural organisations weather the current adverse conditions.

“Theatres as well as cultural and live performance venues, all play a vital economic and social role in Northern Ireland; it is here where many artists and creative practitioners develop their skills and their craft and most importantly, it’s where they collaborate, creating great art that inspires us, improves our wellbeing and supports our local economy.

“We want to ensure that organisations have proper measures in place to welcome the return of their staff, artists and audiences. The Arts Council provides expert advice on how to do that in our comprehensive guidance manual to re-opening the arts in Northern Ireland.”

The Health & Safety Capital Programme is open for online applications from Thursday 10th September and will close at 4pm on October 1st 2020. To be eligible, organisations must demonstrate the purpose of the requested equipment or minor works to be clearly focused on the arts.   For further information on eligibility, guidance notes and to apply, please visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/health-and-safety-capital-programme

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