ACE launches £90m third rescue package

Arts Council England has announced a £90m third Emergency Response Package, bringing the total in crisis aid to artists and arts organisations in England to £160m.

This final fund is for ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations and the Creative People and Places consortia. The first package of £20m had been for practitioners and freelances, the second for organisations outside the National Portfolio.

ACE CEO Darren Henley said the package had been devised to help support our national cultural ecology survive the crisis, this time s intervention funding aimed specifically at those within the ACE grant programmes. “They play a critical role in our cultural ecology, as employers and commissioners as well as makers of work” he said today in a blog blog. “By doing our best to help them to weather the coming months, we believe we’ll deepen and strengthen our support of the sector as a whole. At the same time as we announce this fund, the first two elements of our Emergency Response Package – funds targeted at individuals and independent cultural organisations – are underway”.

The new fund will open for applications on May 12 and close week later on May 19. Details and guidance can be found here.

Henley said the impact of Covid-19 on the arts sector had been specific and acute, and had been particularly felt buy the sector’s most vulnerable members – there had been over 5,000 applications to the first fund. And there would be more pain to come, he warned, because the emergency funding had to be found from elsewhere within ACE’s budgets. “Over the next few weeks we’ll need to make extraordinarily tough decisions, and ultimately deliver very difficult news to people whose applications were good and worthwhile” he said.

“I’m desperately sorry for this, and I wish there were more we could do. For those of you who are unsuccessful I very much hope you’re able to access other hardship funds, alongside appropriate forms of government support. I also hope that we, as organisations and individuals who work in the arts, museums and libraries, can unite at this moment to offer compassion to those who are struggling, and practical help wherever possible.

“I’m looking forward to the moment when we start to think about how our sector can play its part in putting the soul back into our communities” he added.

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