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COVID-19 Licensing Issues: Mayor launches new fund to support London’s at risk culture Published Date: 30/04/2020

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today launched a new emergency £2.3m fund to support culture and creative industries at risk due to the impact of the coronavirus.

The Mayor is working with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and BFI to help venues and artists across the capital through the new Culture at Risk Business Support Fund.

He will provide £450,000 to the Music Venue Trust to support up to 147 grassroots music venues and £225,000 to support up to 56 LGBTQ+ venues in partnership with the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum. There is £1.5m to the Creative Land Trust to support thousands of tenants across 200 artist studios workspaces and £150,000 to the BFI to help up to 25 of London’s treasured independent cinemas. Organisations set to benefit are those most at risk of falling into administration and unable to benefit from Government schemes. This will be supported by an investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The coronavirus is having a significant impact on London’s arts scene and night time economy, with countless shows, events and concerts scrapped or postponed, and venues having to shut their doors and potentially face permanent closure. Many artists and performers are also self-employed and unable to benefit from the Government’s support programmes. Sadiq continues to call on the Government to do much more to provide the support the sector needs to protect its future.

The culture and creative industries and night time economy are incredibly important to London and will be integral in its recovery after the coronavirus crisis. The culture and creative industries are worth £52 billion to the capital’s economy a year and account for one in six jobs. Grassroots venues and organisations have been the foundation of this success, giving a stage for artists to develop their talents and playing a key role in the night time economy, and the Mayor has worked hard to support these industries and help stabilise the number of venues following a decade of decline.

Sadiq is also helping arts and cultural businesses through:

  • Pay It Forward London which helps Londoners buy goods and services in advance.
  • the London Community Response which is supporting voluntary and charitable organisations.
  • supporting the Museum of London and East Bank.
  • promoting innovative culture online.
  • expanding his Culture at Risk office to offer help and advice to venues and creatives.
  • backing the Music Venue Trust’s UK-wide #SaveOurVenues campaign to help support live music venues and studios.
  • urging the Government to ensure that all those working in the creative sector are supported.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on every aspect of life in London, and that includes our culture, creative industries and night time economy. These industries are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis. I’m pleased to be working together with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and the BFI to offer this emergency funding to those areas most at need, but we need the Government to step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs to protect its future.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: “Culture is part of London’s DNA. It is the reason many of us choose to live here and why so many visit each year. It inspires and entertains, and boosts our economy day and night by billions each year. But now more than ever our world-renowned grassroots music venues, LGBTQ+ venues, cinemas and artists need support. They are facing a huge challenge to maintain their existences, and through this fund we will do all we can to support them through these challenging times.”

Jemma Read, Global Head of Corporate Philanthropy, Bloomberg L.P. said: “The coronavirus pandemic risks the continuity of thousands of London’s cultural and creative institutions and with it, the vitality and prosperity of our city. We are proud to be working alongside the Mayor of London and many of our long-standing philanthropic partners to protect the future of London's dynamic arts industry.”

Beverley Whitrick, Music Venue Trust, said: “Music Venue Trust works on behalf of grassroots music venues across the whole UK but the greatest concentration of our members is in London. These venues are some of the most impacted by the current crisis because the costs of running a venue in London are so high. This funding from the Mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue, dedicating invaluable human resources, specialist advice and financial assistance where other measures come up short - everything possible to sustain these venues so they can reopen in the future and host artists and audiences safely and professionally.”

Gordon Seabright, Chief Executive, Creative Land Trust, said: “The Creative Land Trust was formed to make sure that London’s artists, makers and creatives can find studio spaces. We’re pleased to have been asked to support the operation of the Culture at Risk Business Support Fund, and we are glad that the Mayor is making support for the sector such a high priority.”

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, said: “We really value the Mayor’s commitment to supporting London's film culture, now more than ever. Through the BFI Film Audience Network, spearheaded by Film Hub London in the capital, we support a range of diverse independent venues and organisations who are dedicated to bringing great cinema to audiences. Many of them run the risk of permanent closure, and we hope the Resilience Fund, now with a crucial funding boost from the Mayor, will help them continue their vital work.”

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London’s independent cinemas make a significant contribution to the capital’s cultural and economic life. With support from Film Hub London these cinemas regularly engage a wide-ranging audience with diverse programmes and it’s vital that we support them to open their doors again when the time is right and that continued connections are in place with the local communities they serve. Today’s announcement acknowledges the importance of London's independent cinemas for the role they play in the UK launch and release of British and independent films, which make them such a vital part of the economic ecosystem of the Industry, as well as community hubs where Londoners can come together and celebrate stories that reflect our lives on screen. Together with the Mayor of London and the BFI we must ensure that they are still here when these difficult times are over.”

DJ Ritu, DJ and broadcaster, said: “I’m delighted the Mayor is supporting London’s LGBTQ+ venues through his business support fund. These venues provide a welcoming space to the community as well as employment for hundreds of people. They also support a diverse ecosystem of talent, which includes promoters, DJs and performers. By accessing this support, venues stand a fighting chance of securing their future and ensuring that they will be able to open their doors again soon.”