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Arts Council awards £1million to support the creative sector to safely re-open

Wednesday 9th December 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments

Drake Music Project NI senior musician, Tim Leathem picture with his sister Helen Leathem. Image: Drake Music Project NI senior musician, Tim Leathem picture with his sister Helen Leathem.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland to distribute £1,075,335 capital funding grants on behalf of Department for Communities (DfC).

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has awarded, on behalf of Department for Communities, £1,075,335 capital funding to 108 arts and cultural organisations to help them prepare to safely reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

70 awards, totalling £499,997k, were made through the Small Capital Programme and 54 awards, totalling £575,338k, were made through the Health and Safety Capital Programme

The Small Capital Programme is designed to enable organisations to purchase equipment and carry out minor works to their premises that enhance their artistic services and may include; lighting equipment, stage equipment, sound equipment, minor building works, transport and office equipment.

The Health and Safety Capital Programme is designed to support arts and cultural organisations as they prepare to safely re-open by providing funding for the 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.

Communities Minister Caral Ní Chuilín, said,

“I am delighted that my Department has been able to secure these vital capital funds which will further support our arts sector at this very difficult time. These programmes will be invaluable in helping to ensure that organisations in the sector have the necessary equipment to carry out their work; and to enable them to adhere to government guidance and prepare to safely reopen their doors when the situation allows.”

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

“The Arts Council welcomes the support shown by Minister Ní Chuilín for the arts and culture sectors. The capital funding announced today will bring us closer to re-opening our venues and cultural spaces safely.  Both programmes were developed in response to Covid-19 and are much needed to help our arts and cultural organisations prepare for the future.

“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, 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 and these grants help to ensure that.”

Organisations offered funding include:

Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain (CCMR) (Belfast)
Health and Safety Capital Programme grant: £6,204
Small Capital Programme grant: £35,640

Cumann Culturtha Mhic Reachtain (CCMR), established in 1999, is an Irish language arts and cultural venue on the Antrim Road, Belfast. They deliver a significant Irish language summer school, year round concerts, sean-nós singing and dance classes, set dancing workshops, a broad programme of language classes; literary events, poetry reading and book launches, coffee mornings for older people, youth club, historical walks and lectures. 

The organisation has received Small Capital Programme funding to refurbish their building through the rewiring, upgrading and replacement of all lighting and ceiling tiles to bring them up to current standards for the health and safety of all users.  The also wish to install nested speakers in the concert hall to enhance the acoustics and improve the audience experience for the broad programme of arts activity.

The organisation has also received Health and Safety Capital Programme funding to purchase equipment to ensure they can continue to function as an arts centre ensuring the safety of their staff, artists and audiences through the purchase of hand sanitizing stations, Perspex screens, infrared thermometers and signage.  They also have received funding to purchase equipment to ensure that all staff can safely and securely work from home in the event of further restrictions.

Ulster-Scots Community Network (Belfast)
Health and Safety Programme grant: £7,209

The Ulster-Scots Community Network has received Health and Safety Programme funding for their project, Lukkin Efter Wursels, to enhance safety in their city centre premises and among participants.  They will purchase gazebos for the outdoor delivery of small, socially distanced performances, Perspex screens for their indoor performance space and a fogging machine to dispense disinfectant at ultra-low volume to ensure hygiene standards are maintained within the venue and to ensure that seating is cleaned before shows and events.

Liberty Consortium - Playtrail (Derry-Londonderry)
Health and Safety Programme grant: £11,477

Liberty Consortium aims to provide an inclusive approach to play and outdoor learning at its Playtrail site within the grounds of Ardnashee School and College whilst providing Day Opportunity & Social Provision for young adults with learning disabilities at their HUB within Northside Village Centre.  Their wider services are currently utilised by a cross section of organisations, as well as many youth clubs and schools. The Playtrail facility is also open to the wider community outside of school hours and hosts a year-long programme of activities.

The Health and Safety Programme funding will enable Liberty Consortium to create a multi-functional, branded mobile staging/workshop facility through the purchase of a van, two marquees with heaters, padded seating and sanitising stations.  The outcome will make the existing space warm, welcoming and usable in all weather, particularly for children and young people with physical restrictions which can impair movement and create more difficulty for them to stay warm in an outdoor space.  The van will enable them to safely transport drums and facilitators to deliver safe workshops outdoors at different locations.

Killyman St Marys GAA Club (Dungannon)
Small Capital Programme grant: £1,284

Killyman St Mary’s GAA Club has been awarded Small Capital Programme funding to purchase equipment that will enable the organistions to deliver arts classes online through social media.  They will purchase equipment to record lessons in music, dance and language and deliver these online to participants.  They also will use the funding to purchase sounds equipment to use for indoor and outdoor events.

Dungannon Silver Band (Dungannon)
Small Capital Programme grant: £2,993

Dungannon Silver Band has a very active Youth Academy which has continued to receive tuition through remote Zoom teaching throughout the Covid-19 restrictions and the organisations wishes to build its online audience.  The band has performed across the region with support from Mid-Ulster Council, Armagh, Craigavon and Banbridge Council as well as Belfast City Council. They have performed at two of the Belfast Tattoo events in recent years, as well as one in Glasgow.

The organisation has received Small Capital Programme funding to purchase equipment to enable them to record, mix, share their music online and enter online competitions.  They will use the services of a local recording studio and engineer to create an entry for a competition and also record a series of Christmas carols to share on social media.

Drake Music Project Ireland (Newry)
Health and Safety Programme grant: £36,008

Drake Music Project Ireland provides access to independent music making for children and adults with complex disabilities. Workshops in composition and performance skills are afforded by the provision of adapted computer interfacing technology allowing people with disabilities the opportunity to express their creativity in an independent and controllable environment. 

Drake Music Project has been awarded Health and Safety Programme funding to enable the organisation to purchase equipment so they can adapt and continue their delivery of assisted technology music workshops to groups that are at high risk from Covid-19, many of who have had to isolate for a number of months.  The organisation will purchase sanitisation units, Perspex and polycarbonate medical grade desk dividers and screens, individual personalised controller units and computer equipment to suit the new distanced and safe working spaces. 

The organisation’s core work involves the creation, building and provision of assistive music technology and adapted instruments for people with complex and profound disabilities so they will purchase laptops and I-Pads as these are at the heart of a musician’s adapted instrumental setup, with interfaces and controllers added, to create an independent accessible musical environment for composition, performance and non-real time processing.  Post-Covid, these kits of instruments can serve across the community in outreach workshops, so they will have a shelf life beyond the current restrictions.



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