Funding announced for culture, languages, arts and heritage sectors

28 Oct 2020 Shauna O'Neill    Last updated: 16 Nov 2020

Funding for the Arts, Culture and Heritage sectors

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has given the green light for further financial support to be released to support the culture, language, arts and heritage sectors.

Following the announcement in September that £29m has been allocated by the Executive to provide support for the culture, language, arts and heritage sectors impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Communities has provided further details on the programmes:

  • £7.75m available to arts organisations through the Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations, administered by Arts Council Northern Ireland
  • £5.5m for the Heritage Recovery Fund
  • £2.5m to be shared among the Irish Language, Ulster Scots and Sign Language sectors
  • £2m for the Community Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund, administered by The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland
  • £200,000 for the Community Heritage Fund

It means to date over £20m has been allocated by the Department following the previously announced £3m for individual artists.

The aim is to stabilise these sectors and preserve the vibrancy and important benefits delivered by organisations and individuals working in culture, languages, arts and heritage.

The Minister will shortly announce how the remainder of the £29m budget will be distributed. This will include further funding for the Arts Council to continue to support individuals and an allocation for local councils to ensure that the culture and heritage assets they own and operate are supported. 

Covid-19 Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Programme 2020/2021 

Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations

Distributed by the Artst Council NI grants of up to £500,000 are available to organisations working in the arts and cultural sector to help them respond to the immediate impacts of the Covid-19 crisis, including help with re-opening, adapting and stabilising their organisations in the long-term

The Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations is open to arts, culture and community organisations whose primary role is to create, present or support arts across a range of categories.

Applications are open and close on Friday 27 November 2020 at 12noon. Find out more here.

National Lottery Heritage Recovery Fund

The Heritage Recovery Fund will support organisations across the heritage ecosystem that were financially sustainable before COVID-19, have exhausted all other reasonable financing options and are now at risk of failure.

The fund will support these organisations to ensure that successful applicants can reopen by 31 March 2021. If reopening under social distancing is not permissible or does not represent a value for money approach, the fund will support organisations to operate on a sustainable and cost-efficient basis so that they are able to reopen at a later date. Grants of £3,000 to £250,000 are available.

The Heritage Recovery Fund also has a separate strand for individuals working in the heritage sector, such as specialist heritage builders, conservators, tour guides and craftspeople registered with an appropriate professional body. Grants of £3,000 or £5,000 are available.

Applications are open and close on Friday 27 November 2020 at 12noon. Find out more here.

Community Heritage Fund Northern Ireland

The Community Heritage Fund will be distributed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, offering grants of between £3,000 - £10,000 for projects based in Northern Ireland that will encourage engagement with their local heritage. The Fund will support small-scale projects in Northern Ireland which help connect communities to the heritage in their local area.

Applications are open and close on Friday, 18 December 2020 at 12 noon. Find out more here.

The Community Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund

A £2million fund for community based culture, arts and heritage projects in response to COVID-19, distributed by the Community Foundation NI who will prioritise projects which support people with disabilities and those who are vulnerable.

Open to all community organisations which can deliver new projects as part of the Programme’s renewal strand. Any constituted organisation can apply and their primary purpose need not be related to arts or heritage. Groups can apply for awards from £2,000 to £20,000 for expenditure up to 31 March 2021 for a wide range of projects related to culture, arts, creativity and heritage.

Applications are open . Find out more here

Irish Language Funding

The Irish language community will directly benefit from £1.2m of funding, aimed at providing financial support for community and Irish language groups through ongoing Covid difficulties. Two of the funds will be administered by Conradh na Gaeilge, as follows:

1. SPG+ Relief & Relaunch Fund 2020-2021 (Covid19) - £460,000

This fund is aimed at Irish language community groups dealing with ongoing challenges and difficulties brought about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially concerning financial implications of Covid-19 and staffing and programme income losses, since the beginning April 2020. Full details here.

2. Community Events Fund: Towards Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia 2021

This fund is a stimulus fund to create increased, renewed and new opportunities for communities to use the Irish language in 2021. Full details here.

Programme to support Irish language community facilities

Ciste Infheistíochta na Gaeilge are delivering a £610,000 programme of support, aimed at helping organisations who are managing community capital facilities in the Irish language community sector.

Comharchiste Covid applications are open and close on Wednesday, 2 December. Full details here.

The Ulster-Scots Covid-19 Resilience Fund

The Ulster-Scots Covid-19 Resilience Fund administered by the Ulster-Scots Agency, will provide small grants (up to £3k) to help groups with overhead costs and Covid-19 safety; language grants for innovative projects promoting the Ulster-Scots language (up to £10k); and large organisation grants (up to £30k) to help larger groups replace income lost due to the pandemic.

Most of the fund (£660k) will be allocated for small grants, which will be assessed on a first come, first served basis. 

Applications are open and the deadline for Language Grant and Large Organisation Grant applications is Wednesday, 2 December. Full details here.

Sign Language COVID-19 Support Fund

£430,000 of funding is available to support the survival, maintenance and sustainability of the sign language sector impacted by COVID-19 through the support of community based activities and the development of new avenues for participation and engagement through the pandemic.  

Applications are open and close on Tuesday, 1 December 2020 at 5pm. Full details here.'s picture
by Shauna O'Neill

Communications Officer

[email protected]

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