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Arts Council shares update on its coronavirus relief fund

The body set up an emergency fund to help the culture sector through the coronavirus pandemic.

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Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota has provided an update on the body’s coronavirus relief fund (Yui Mok/PA)

Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota has provided an update on the body’s coronavirus relief fund (Yui Mok/PA)

Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota has provided an update on the body’s coronavirus relief fund (Yui Mok/PA)

Nearly £65 million has been awarded to recipients in the culture sector to aid them through the coronavirus crisis, Arts Council England said.

The body announced its emergency response package in March and said it was intended to support artists, organisations, museums and libraries survive the pandemic and plan for the future.

Almost 90% of the £160 million package came from the National Lottery.

The Arts Council has never awarded so many grants, in such a short space of time, to so many creative peopleDarren Henley

On Tuesday Arts Council England, the national development agency for creativity and culture, said £64.8 million has been awarded to 7,484 individuals and 2,182 independent organisations.

This included £13.1 million to black and minority ethnic individuals and black and minority ethnic-led organisations.

And £8.5 million of funding has been given to deaf or disabled individuals and disabled-led organisations.

In addition, £4 million was distributed to a series of benevolent funds supporting cultural workers, including musicians, stage technicians and conservators.

£90 million was made available to support National Portfolio Organisations, with decisions on this funding under way, the council said.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England chairman, said: “This urgent financial support has provided a lifeline to the many creative individuals and organisations across England that make up our vibrant cultural sector, for whom Covid-19 has dealt a devastating blow.”

The Arts Council said it has moved into the “stabilisation phase” of its planning, aiming to support the sector reopening “when it is safe to do so”.

PA