North West arts recovery plan launched – with plea for support

Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham has today launched a six-month recovery plan for arts professionals and organisations in Greater Manchester and across the North West.

“Although some organisations have now been able to reopen their doors many remain shut with no idea when they will be able to operate again, placing huge concerns on those who work in the industry as the furlough scheme comes to an end” Burnham said. “The a Cultural Recovery Plan outlines how we will protect the arts and night time economy during the usually busy winter period for the sector, with further funding opportunities, virtual events and commissioned activity for artists being developed.”

And he appealed for more support for theatre, music venues, museums, galleries and industry professionals across the region following the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s own support since lockdown with

* £1.75m for venues

* £500 grants for individuals

* The creation of the United We Stream platform by Night-Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord, GMCA’s Culture team and local partners – which has raised £477,000

Also, across the sector organisations and artists have supported residents with wardrobe teams sewing PPE for frontline staff, artists offering online activity for schoolchildren and musicians performing virtual concerts. The image shows the actor Maxine Peake taking part in the GMCA initiative United We Stream, image © Katie Hall.

The key action points in the recovery plan are:

  • Support for individual artists and freelancers
  • Provision of cultural activity for communities hardest hit by Covid-19
  • Provision of opportunities for young people in Greater Manchester
  • Reduction in inequality in the cultural sector, with a particular focus on BAME, disabled and working class artists and professionals

“Arts and culture are the beating heart of Greater Manchester - it is vital the sector is offered as much support as possible, especially those organisations and individuals who fall short of central government funding” said Councillor David Greenhalgh, GMCA lead for culture. “It is estimated there are around 200 large cultural organisations and venues in Greater Manchester. The number increases to more than 700 if the smaller community organisations are included - a huge number of people to be effected by ongoing closures. 

 “The Cultural Recovery Plan sets out how we will continue to protect the industry during this tough time, while also ensuring we build back better to make sure the sector emerges from Covid-19 stronger than before. The cultural sector is also well-placed to support the economic recovery of Greater Manchester, by encouraging people back to our city centre, towns and high streets.”

 

The launch and appeal come at the start of the week in which the government is expected to detail how it will share out  its £1.57 Cultural Recovery Fund.

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