On 5 November, 203 organisations and venues were announced as receiving a share of the £15 million Scottish Government’s Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund pot.
It isn't possible to make direct comparisons between the Scottish and other emergency funding arrangements for cultural organisations because they are organised differently, but we do know that whilst 203 organisations were helped in this £11.75 million allocation, others were left empty-handed.
The Fund was oversubscribed by £7 million with 145 of the 348 applications being unsuccessful in their bids. That is 42% who get nothing.
We will probably never know how and why some organisations and venues were chosen over others, but we do know that funding was targeted towards organisations that are "at significant threat of insolvency".
On the face of it, this seems fair. If an organisation isn't on the verge of financial collapse then why should it take funding away from another that is?
The flaw to this reasoning is, of course, that an organisation which has the benefit of reserves in September when applications opened may not survive the undeterminable duration of the pandemic and will be left to die a lingering death unless further funding becomes available.
We can only hope that there will be a second pot—and not just for Scotland—and that it can be distributed faster than the existing rescue package (the Scottish arrangements being announced on 28 August, with the main announcement in early July).
And just because this £11.75 million has been allocated does not mean that any money has yet been transferred across for use by the beneficiaries.
What untold suffering the no-man's-land delay has been responsible for is painful to think about.
The Scottish Government’s £97m of funding is being distributed by Creative Scotland, which assigns funding from the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.
This is divided across 15 areas into which the Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund is then split:
- £5 million for the Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers, recently been augmented by £3 million from the Scottish Government, which reopens for applications on 10 November.
- £3.5 million for the Independent Cinemas Recovery and Resilience Fund.
- £3.5 million of additional funds for Creative Scotland’s Open Fund which takes applications on a rolling basis.
- £3 million for Youth Arts made up of the Access to Youth Arts Fund (not yet closed), the Small Grants Scheme (closed), the Time to Shine Nurturing Talent Fund, and with £1 million or so earmarked for youth music.
- £1.5 million for the Culture Collective programme (part of the £5 million Sustaining Creative Practice Fund).
Earlier announcements include the allocation of the £12.5 million Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund and the £2.2 million Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund.
The £97 million of funding for Scotland covers—or should that be stretches thinly across—the funds mentioned here plus others for museums, National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, New Lanark Trust World Heritage and other heritage organisations, the events sector, and Scotland’s Science Centres.