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Funding provides lifeline to Arts, Culture and Heritage sectors - Ní Chuilín

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has today welcomed the announcement of £29m support for the culture, language, arts and heritage sectors impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

This £29m allocation from the Executive is in addition to other funds the Department has previously announced. A £5.5m Creative Support Fund has already been established by the Department of which, to date, £1.9 million has been paid to small to medium organisations in addition to just over £0.5 million to individuals.

The funding is to support the arts, culture, heritage, languages and the wider creative industries sectors and also includes support for libraries, museums, comedy, music and cinema.

Minister Ní Chuilín said: “I am thankful to my Executive colleagues for allocating funding to these hard hit sectors, especially when all departments are facing considerable additional pressures as a result of the ongoing challenge of COVID-19.

“This additional funding will provide a much needed lifeline and significant boost to our culture, language, arts and heritage sectors which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“The £29m investment will support them in the short term and provide additional support for the future.

“I am acutely aware of the substantial contribution that these sectors make to our local economy, our quality of life, health and wellbeing, in the shaping of our standing as a place to live, work and visit, and they have a vital part to play in delivering social renewal for communities and people impacted by COVID-19.

“My officials are currently finalising proposals for a suite of funding schemes to support these sectors, and are engaging with partners across central and local government, as well as arm’s length bodies and sectoral representatives to ensure the funding is distributed quickly, fairly and to maximise its impact. I want to get this funding issued at the earliest opportunity.”

The Minister explained that in recognition of the importance of the culture, language, arts and heritage sectors to our social and economic success, this funding will be delivered in parallel to the development of a Culture, Arts and Heritage Strategy.

“This strategy will set out an ambitious vision for how these sectors must adapt in the post-COVID landscape in order to thrive and deliver longer term social and economic benefits.

Given the current pressures I have no doubt that this latest funding announcement will be welcomed by everyone across the sector,” she added.

Details on the new funding schemes will be announced in due course.

For 2020/21,Arts Council NI’s opening resource budget allocation from the Department is £10.197m; Libraries NI’s is £26.165m and National Museums’ is NI £11.459m.