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Emergency Funds Reaching Scotland’s Culture Sector

Published: 19 May 2020

Bridging Bursary for the Arts and Creative Sector

Emergency funds designed to support people working in Scotland’s culture sector who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19, are now reaching those most in need.

865 people have now received one off grants of between £500-£2,500, in the first phase of the Creative Scotland Arts and Creative Bridging Bursary programme.

A combination of existing funding from The National Lottery and the Scottish Government, over £1.5million has been distributed to date to freelance artists and creative practitioners based in each of Scotland’s local authority areas.

Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "This is a deeply worrying time for Scotland’s world-renowned culture sector, which has been particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Many artists, performers and freelancers have seen an immediate shutdown of work, resulting in a dramatic loss of income, with many facing real hardship.

“We want to do all we can to help and, working quickly with Creative Scotland, we have repurposed grant money and built packages of focused support for those who need it most. More than 850 individual freelancers and artists who have lost income due to COVID-19 will now receive a vital lifeline from the Bridging Bursary Fund to help them through this extremely difficult time.

“Culture is central to who we are. It is one of Scotland’s major strengths and it will continue to play a crucial part in getting us through this crisis as we rebuild our country and look toward the future.”

Iain Munro, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland commented: “In the midst of the very serious personal and professional impacts being experienced by so many people working across the creative sector, it is encouraging to be able to report today, that these vital funds are reaching so many people so quickly.

“Nevertheless, while the measures we’ve already undertaken are responding to the initial impact of this crisis, we recognise that they are limited when compared to the significant future challenges faced by our arts screen and creative industries sectors. Our absolute priority is now about concentrating our efforts to safeguard and protect their longer-term future.”

More detailed information about today’s update on the first phase of the Creative Scotland Arts and Creative Bridging Bursary can be found on the Bridging Bursary page.

The Bridging Bursaries Programme is an important part of Creative Scotland’s initial response to the country’s creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak. To help alleviate pressure on organisations as much as possible, all existing funding awards, regardless of whether activity is cancelled, reduced or rescheduled, are being honoured. In addition, existing resources have been repurposed to provide £8.5m for individuals and organisations to sustain their creative practice and to develop new work in the coming months.

The Scottish and UK governments are also offering support to those most in need and information about these alternative sources of funding alongside resources and sector specific support groups and organisations, can be accessed through our Resource Directory for COVID-19.

Media Contact

Wendy Grannon, Media Relations and PR Manager
+44 7989 854 306

Notes to Editors

1. The release of the data and information today relates to the first phase of Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary requests between 30 March and 2 April.

2. Launched on Friday 27 March, the Bridging Bursaries Programme includes two strands:

A £2m Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund to help sustain freelance creative professionals who have lost earnings due to the cancelation of work as a result of COVID-19.

A parallel £1.5m Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund for freelance or self-employed screen practitioners who have lost income from their work due to COVID-19.

Both programmes opened for requests from Monday 30 March.

3. On Thursday 2 April the Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary was paused due to the volume of requests. This was to ensure that funds remained for those who required more time to make their application.

4. After the Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary was paused on Thursday 2 April, additional funding from the Scottish Government and the Freelands Foundation was received (£1m each) and the Bursary was opened for a second round between Monday 20 April and Friday 25 April. These requests are currently being processed and will be reported on in due course.

5. The Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary has remained open since Monday 30 March and will now close on Wednesday 20 May.

6. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

7. Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland. Sitting within Creative Scotland, it is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success. With funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support. www.screen.scot @ScreenScots

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