£3.8m emergency fund for NI’s Covid-devastated arts industry

A £3.8m emergency fund has been made available to the thousands of people in the arts industry in Northern Ireland who have lost their livelihoods overnight.

The Arts Council has announced details of 1,089 individuals who are set to benefit as part of the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme.

Those who will be supported include musicians, actors, artists and many more in countless behind-the-scenes roles.

The grants of £1,200, £3,000, or £5,000 each will offer a lifeline at a time when the industry has been decimated due to venue closures, event cancellations, and the disappearance of live audiences.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The scale of the crisis within our fragile arts sector is unlike anything we’ve known before.

“The arts are something which we all enjoy, be it through film, concerts, exhibitions or books.

“But the behind the scenes, the work and skills which go into making those things happen, are too often unseen and undervalued.”

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “It is vital to remember that when we talk about the arts, language, culture and heritage sectors, we aren’t just talking about institutions and buildings and sites - we are talking about the people who are at the heart of all the work that goes on.

“So, it is vital that people are at the heart of our response to the restrictions and hardship that the pandemic has wrought.”