April 2021 begins with the announcement of successful applicants to the Arts Council England managed Cultural Recovery Fund Round Two (CRF2), which distributes money from UK Government’s £1.57bn pot of Covid-19 support for culture.
Music Venue Trust has worked hard to support eligible grassroots music venues (GMVs) in their applications to this fund and we are delighted that members of the Music Venues Alliance (MVA) have now been awarded almost £16million in support. This represents an 80% success rate for MVA members, many of whom had never applied for public funding prior to this pandemic. This money is aimed at securing venues until the end of June 2021.
We are grateful to Arts Council England who worked so hard to deliver the fund, and to the DCMS for listening to the needs of the GMV sector. However, as with all grant funding, this news is hard on those venues who were ineligible due to the structure of their business or which have not been established long enough to provide the accounts required, and on those who applied but were unsuccessful or awarded only a small percentage of the money they need.
Music Venue Trust represents over 900 venues across the UK. These venues are diverse in location, physical infrastructure, legal structure, management style and programme. Over the last 12 months we have worked hard to provide UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive with as much data about the needs of our sector as possible in an attempt to unlock financial support to sustain these vital venues. Through a range of funds administered by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Wales and Arts Council Northern Ireland our venues have to date been awarded £78,752,955.
We are grateful for these funds but would like also to acknowledge and applaud the incredible work done by ‘Team MVT’ in training, advising, and supporting MVA members throughout this process. Fundraising expert Lucy Stone and her team have provided essential knowledge and professional experience, working in partnership with MVT’s Regional and National Coordinators, all of whom took on a temporary part-time contract 12 months ago but are still on the front line, supporting venues in their area.
This work has only been possible thanks to the generosity of artists, fans and other music industry supporters who have donated over £5million to MVT in the past year. As well as providing small grants to venues, that money pays for the people to work with the venues to apply for more money to help them survive this difficult period.
After Easter we will be reviewing the needs of our entire membership and assessing which venues are secure until the end of June, when we hope that life may be returning towards something resembling ‘normality’.
Some venues currently on our ‘Red List’ will be able to be removed thanks to a combination of donations and grant funding. Inevitably though there will be venues to add to the Red List so Music Venue Trust’s campaign to #SaveOurVenues will continue.
Beverley Whitrick – Strategic Director, Music Venue Trust.