ACE Culture Recovery Fund – an update
The Arts Council has apologised for a delay in support for the Arts due to the “volume and complexity of the applications”.
Things aren’t getting any easier for hundreds of arts organisations up and down the country who had hoped to benefit from the Chancellor’s £1.57 billion bailout through the ACE Culture Recovery Fund. Having been given less than two weeks to complete and submit an application, arts organisations were promised a quick turn-around by the Arts Council, with a decision on Monday 5th October. D-day came and went but instead (with only 72 hours’ notice) an apology was issued along with a statement that due to the volume and complexity of the applications a delay of one week was necessary. ACE added that “the fact that this is a new fund, extra due diligence has been required to make sure money is spent responsibly”.
A delay of one week may seem relatively immaterial, but after seven months without box office income, one wonders how much longer some arts charities can continue without any support, and how they can move ahead with their planning. Skilled freelance workers and performers are unlikely to see any financial support from the scheme and, amidst news of a second wave of the pandemic and the prospects of even longer closures, the sector appears to be scraping the very bottom of the barrel. Rishi Sunak’s Jobs Support Scheme announced only a couple of weeks ago ignores the arts sector almost entirely. With the furlough scheme set to end at the end of October, the need for support really couldn’t be much higher.
It appears an entire sector will have to sit tight and keep its fingers crossed for one more week. Not every arts organisation can and will be saved, and for some it is already too late, but we can only hope that as many applicants as possible will be thrown a much needed life-line by the ACE Culture Recovery Fund from next week, 12th October onwards.