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Arts Council re-opens Emergency fund for Arts and Cultural organisations

Thursday 3rd September 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson Image: The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thurs Sept 3rd) opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP) in a second call to arts and cultural organisations across Northern Ireland.

The fund allows those organisations which did not receive support in the first call made in June, to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each. It is hoped this support may help alleviate the significant financial pressures they are facing as result of Covid-19, while preparing to re-open safely and contribute successfully to the economy.

The Organisations Emergency Programme is one element of the wider £5.5 m Creative Support fund supported by the Minister, the Department for Communities and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; the priority is to protect the arts and wider cultural sectors from the impact of the current pandemic.

Carál Ní Chuilín, Communities Minister said,

“The first round of OEP provided over £1.9m to 150 arts organisations impacted by Covid-19, from festivals and community arts groups to music, circus and theatre companies. I would encourage all creative organisations, from every creative sector, to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Our cultural sector is hugely important for social wellbeing, health and education, as well as for our economy. As a society, now more than ever, we must recognise its value and protect it. This latest round of funding will provide much needed support to many more arts organisations in these difficult times, and I am committed to ensuring that we continue to sustain the sector as we move towards recovery together.”

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

“The Arts Council welcomes the funding for cultural organisations announced today by Minister Ní Chuilín. It is very much needed to strengthen the durability of the wider sector in these adverse conditions. Our research clearly evidences that more funding is needed to help arts and cultural businesses re-open and flourish over the next few years, so that they may continue to contribute fully to our economy and to our society.

“The OEP fund first opened in June, and provided much needed financial support, a lifeline to 150 arts and cultural organisations which had been decimated under the Covid-19 lock down. The closure of theatres and venues, the cancellation of festivals and events and the disappearance of live audiences has been devastating to those who work within these sectors, those who helped drive the regeneration of our local economy. This second call to organisations is absolutely necessary.

“Meanwhile, the Arts Council continues to provide expert advice to our partners in government, making the case for the needs of a sector, still on its knees and facing significant financial challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Key to the future health of the sector will be the distribution of the £33m Barnett consequential for arts, culture and heritage which the NI Executive will decide later this month.”

The Organisations Emergency Programme closes to applications on 17 September at 4pm. Further details, including eligibility Guidance Notes and FAQs, are available at


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