Helping Scotland’s Creative Sector through the Pandemic

An article by Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North

In these strange and difficult times the SNP Government is working hard to support our creative practitioners.

Creative Scotland has launched three funding programmes designed to sustain the country’s creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak.

• A Bridging Bursary Fund will help freelance creative professionals who have lost earnings due to the cancelation of work as a result of COVID-19. Claimants will be able to apply for a one-off bursary payment of between £500 and £2,500.

• A parallel Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund will provide similar one-off support to self-employed screen sector workers.

• The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development provides support for individuals and organisations who can apply for funding of up to £50,000. Applications can be made here.

Creative Scotland has also compiled an A-Z of resources available to those in the creative community who have been affected by coronavirus and this can be accessed here.

Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) has set up an Urgent Response Fund to support museums and galleries critically affected by the pandemic with £400,000 for accredited, independent museums which care for Recognised Collections and £300,000 for non-Recognised Collections. Unlike MGS’s standard grants programmes, these awards will cover core costs and will not be tied to project outcomes.

Further to this, a £55,000 Digital Resilience Fund, open to all museums, will enable them to purchase the necessary equipment to work from home and provide digital access to collections and activity. The impact of the fund will benefit the sector’s digital infrastructure beyond the current situation. Applications are now open and can be made at: mgs-online.org.uk/

The MGS Team can be contacted on 0131 550 4115 or investment@museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk

Many in the creative sector may also be eligible to apply for emergency funding and measures including rates relief, one-off grants, £20 million Third Sector Resilience Fund for Scotland-based charities, social enterprises, voluntary organisations or organisations delivering community services and activities and the Job Retention Scheme.

The impact of coronavirus is being felt everywhere. However, the closure of cinemas, theatres and music venues, combined with the high numbers of freelance and self-employed workers in the sector, means the impact is particularly acute. It is vital we act now to help those whose income streams have been reduced to zero without warning. This funding will support those workers through this unprecedented time.

Along with Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland, the SNP Government continues working urgently to use existing and new funds to support the sector. The National Performing Companies are also making various arrangements to safeguard their staff, artists and creative personnel during the current pandemic.

I encourage creative people to keep up to date with the latest information and support on the Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government websites.

Scotland’s Culture Strategy makes it clear that the arts and creativity are essential to our wellbeing and we must continue to support this activity through these difficult times.