Government invites arts charities to apply for sustainability loans

The £270m scheme offers loans of £3m or more that are repayable over 20 years with an initial four-year repayment holiday

The British Museum (Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The British Museum (Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Arts charities in England are being invited to apply for loans of £3m or more to help them return to sustainable operations in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The £270m repayable finance scheme is part of the government’s £1.6bn package to protect the UK’s culture and heritage sectors from the economic impacts of Covid-19.  

The loans, which will be a minimum of £3m, will be repayable over 20 years, at an interest rate of 2 per cent a year, with an initial repayment holiday of up to four years. 

The online application form for the fund will open at midday on 21 August.

According to eligibility criteria published on Arts Council England’s website, the fund is open to “cultural organisations – charitable, not for profit, and commercial – operating within the arts, museums, heritage (including built, natural and intangible heritage) sectors, including independent cinemas”.

Registered community interest companies, charitable incorporated organisations and charitable companies or trusts, community benefit and cooperative societies will all be eligible to apply.

Organisations must have been registered since before 1 April 2017, and much have been financially sustainable before Covid-19 but are now at imminent risk of failure and have exhausted all other options for increasing their resilience.

A statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “The repayable finance model has been carefully tailored to suit the needs of the cultural sector, especially culturally significant organisations which were financially sustainable before the pandemic.”

Arts Council England will review applications, with input from other arm’s length bodies including the British Film Institute, Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Decisions will be taken by the independent Culture Recovery Board, chaired by Sir Damon Buffini. 

The deadline for applications is midday on 9 September. More information can be found here


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