Arts Council opens emergency programme for arts organisations

Arts Council opens emergency programme for arts organisations

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland yesterday (Monday 1st June) opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP)

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter


The Arts Council of Northern Ireland yesterday (Monday 1st June) opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP), worth £500,000, which offers organisations the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each.

Small and medium sized organisations will be able to apply for maximum funding of £25,000 to help them continue creative work, assist with operational costs, where these have been affected as a result of the COVID-19, and to help plan for recovery. 

The OEP fund provides much needed financial support, a lifeline to arts organisations, at a time when the arts sector has been decimated under quarantine conditions, the closure of theatres, venues and galleries, the cancellation of festivals and events and the disappearance of live audiences.

The Organisations Emergency Programme is one element of the wider £1.5m funding package recently announced by Minister Hargey, Department for Communities, to support the arts and wider culture sectors during the current pandemic.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA said: "The Arts Sector is facing many barriers; this fund will offer equality of opportunity and access for a broad range of people. I have asked my Department to continue to do everything possible to provide support and assistance to individuals and organisations in the Arts Sector at this time. I am also grateful to the Arts Council for working with my Department in responding to the needs of the sector."

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: “Funding for the arts in Northern Ireland was already in a fragile state pre-Covid-19 and we estimate that since the pandemic, organisations are facing deficits of over £4m; a figure which may increase as the year progresses. These organisations are among the most creative, flexible and inventive in our society and many are already finding imaginative and innovative ways to deliver online content. However the impact of the lockdown on their earned income has been both severe and immediate.

“We welcome the Minister’s announcement of new funding; the Organisations Emergency Programme forms an important strand of that package, targeting our small to medium sized arts organisations with awards of up to £25,000. We hope this support will help buy them creative time to produce new ideas for programming, plan for recovery and help them withstand the shock to their organisation of substantial loss of income during lockdown.

“We are pleased that the programme is open to independent museums, libraries and language organisations. We hope now with outdoor opportunities opening up, to see even more engagement with live audiences and participants in a safe and meaningful way.”

The OEP programme is open for applications from Monday 1st June for proposals ending March 2021, and will close at 4pm on Friday 12th June 2020.

For further info contact Angela Warren, Media Relations Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, E: or call M:07849561919

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