Welsh Government is investing £53m to help Wales’ diverse culture sector deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes 3 weeks after the UK Government announced investment of £1.57billion into the arts and culture sectors, with £59m released to Wales. The fund will be delivered jointly with the Arts Council of Wales and has a “cultural contract” at its heart to help the sector emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.
The announcement comes on top of the £18m portfolio package provided in April, which was delivered by the Welsh Government, Arts Council of Wales and Sport Wales.
The Cultural Recovery Fund will help protect organisations, individuals and jobs in the culture industries, including:
- Music venues, businesses and individuals
- Heritage sites
- Local museums, libraries and archive services
- Events and festivals
- Independent cinemas
Official statistics demonstrate the scale of the economic value and important role of the cultural and arts sectors in Wales. The latest figures published before the Covid-19 pandemic, show the combined Gross Value Added of the creative industries and cultural sectors in Wales was £1.5bn (£1,018m and £493m, respectively). In addition, these sectors employ approximately 85,000 people in Wales, of which 38,000 (45%) are self-employed.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Lord Elis-Thomas said:
We’ve listened and worked with our partners across the cultural and creative sectors to put this second package of support together. I’d like to put on record our thanks for working constructively with us to deliver this support. We recognise the massive and unprecedented challenges the pandemic is having on the very fabric of Welsh life and we applaud the resilience and creativity on show. This package will help support many in the sectors in responding to the pressures and challenges coronavirus has placed on them, it also presents a unique opportunity to deliver a step change – we will develop a cultural contract so that the sector can re-emerge stronger. This would ensure successful applicants commit to ensuring public investment is deployed with a positive, targeted social purpose, which is only right.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
We have been working closely with the sector to understand the challenges it’s facing and the level of support required. The package we have announced today demonstrates we have listened to the sector and provided the support it needs to survive, and to thrive post-pandemic.
Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales said:
The announcement of these additional funds is the signal of support that the arts in Wales has been waiting for. The Welsh Government’s investment is a welcome acknowledgment of the importance of the arts to the well-being of the nation and to the country’s creative economy. With many arts organisations facing the imminent threat of insolvency, and freelancers struggling to see when they’ll secure their next paid work, these funds ease the immediate threat of a collapse in the creative sector. These funds offer artists and arts organisations a breathing space to stabilise their activities and encourage them to commit to the new cultural contract. It’s not enough just to protect and defend – we must create a new future in which cultural activities reach more widely and deeply across all of the public in Wales.
Guidance for applicants will be made available on the Welsh Government website.
(Image: Jukebox Collective)