The U.K. government has revealed how its planned £1.57 billion ($1.9 billion) Cultural Recovery Fund will be disbursed across arts sectors.
Of the total amount, the government has currently released £880 million ($1.14 billion), which has been split into two funding rounds. The first round of £622 million ($805.3 million) will be distributed immediately, while the remaining £258 million ($334 million) will be reserved for a second round of funding later in the financial year to meet the developing needs of organizations.
In the first funding round, Arts Council England will oversee £500 million ($647.3 million) to support theaters, music and comedy venues and museums. This allocation includes £2.25 million ($2.9 million) in immediate support for grassroots music venues.
Meanwhile, independent cinemas will be able to apply to the British Film Institute’s £30 million ($38.8 million) grant scheme. Of this, £3 million ($3.88 million) is for safety grants to enable cinemas — up to £10,000 ($12,950) per cinema — to put the necessary measures in place to ensure the safety of their workforce and the public. As well, £27 million ($34.9 million) in business sustainability grants — up to £200,000 per organisation ($258,980) — will support independent cinemas to operate viably under the restricted conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the U.K.’s 775 cinemas, 55% are independent venues.
Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI, said: “The BFI Screen Sector Taskforce highlighted the huge financial pressures facing cinemas as some of the first cultural venues to reopen with strict social distancing and limited box office takings. So we really welcome the government’s culture recovery funding and its vital support for independent cinemas, many of whom will soon be able to provide audiences with a positive and safe cinematic experience. We are also working closely with industry to encourage audiences to return to cinemas as they reopen across the U.K.”
The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England will deliver a further £92 million ($119.1 million) worth of grants to protect heritage sites.
As part of the Arts Recovery Fund, grants of up to £3 million ($3.88 million) will protect important cultural assets and ensure arts and heritage continues to play a key role in levelling up the country. A new independent Culture Recovery Board will be chaired by businessman Damon Buffini to help administer the program, advising on the largest grant as well deciding the beneficiaries of the £270 million ($350 million) repayable finance element of the £1.57 billion package.
Separately, as announced earlier on Tuesday, $647 million will go towards an insurance fund for film and production.