Relief as emergency Arts Council grants keep culture sector afloat

Members of the region’s cultural industries breathed a sigh of relief when the Arts Council announced its latest round of grants to keep the sector afloat.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 4:31 pm
Clair Challenor-Chadwick and Ann Chadwick, directors of Cause UK, the Harrogate-based PR social enterprise. PHOTO: Gary Lawson Photography.

The body offered nearly £400m of financial support to 2,700 organisations through its £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, which draws on money raised by the National Lottery, set up to help the sector survive the Covid-enforced lockdowns.

Locally, the latest round of grants included £346,723 for Harewood House Trust; £199,685 for Technical Stage Services Ltd in Sherburn-in-Elmet; £95,000 for Wetherby-based One Day Creative; £91,078 for Harrogate Theatre; £80,000 for Harrogate International Festivals; £69,350 for Ripon Museum Trust; and £35,000 for Cause UK.

Technical Stage Services has clients including theatres, museums and outdoor events across the region. Co-owner and business manager Sharon Dawson said the grant was a “real lifeline”.

“We’ve been hanging on by a thread over the last year,” she said. “Our events side was down 99.7 per cent on the previous year, and it’s only because we do permanent installations and statutory inspections for clients like museums that we’ve been able to keep going.

“We made three staff redundant last year because of Covid, and we’d be looking at more again without this.”

She said the money would fund three months of overheads and replenish the company’s reserves, enabling it to be more resilient.

Arts education business One Day Creative also described its award as a “lifeline”.

Founder Rebecca Zimmerman said: “This grant enables us to strengthen our online learning platform, Uno, ensuring more children than ever can reap the benefits of connecting creativity with culturally-relevant and curriculum topics.”

Cause UK, a Harrogate-based PR social enterprise with a number of high-profile cultural clients, said Covid had put its growth on hold, but that its grant would help.

Managing director Clair Challenor-Chadwick said: “We aim to enrich lives, explore what matters, champion good, provoke thought, inspire action and put heart and intelligence into our cultural programming.

“We are thrilled to be supported by the Arts Council to continue our work in 2021 and beyond.”