The coronavirus outbreak poses serious risks to the country’s network of cultural organisations unless there is a joined-up approach to supporting them, the Local Government Association and Arts Council England has said.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is collaborating with Arts Council England, the leisure and culture trust sectors, to help support cultural organisations to deal with the current situation.
Arts and culture add more than £10.8 billion to the UK economy every year and by working together, councils, national bodies and industry can ensure cultural services recover when the current crisis ends.
Launching their statement today, the LGA, Arts Council England, Core Cities, Key Cities, the Culture and Leisure Officers Association (CLOA), Community Leisure UK (CLUK), London Councils, and the Rural Services Network, will align their support to work with all cultural organisations, share good practice and collect evidence, and make the case for culture and the future.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s culture, tourism and sport board, said: “Unprecedented times require a joined-up response.
“All our organisations and teams are struggling to make sense of a new world that poses severe risks to many of our crucial local cultural and creative organisations.
“Arts and culture add more than £10.8 billion to the UK economy each year and make our communities great places to live.
“It is important to extend any available support packages to include partners within it.
“By advancing payments, relaxing monitoring requirements, and offering letters of comfort, councils across the country have been working closely with key partners to support vital cultural services for their communities.
“We are pleased to have been able to agree this joint statement with Arts Council England and our other partners about how we will work together to respond to this emergency.
“By working together, councils, industry and the Government can ensure that every organisation and individual has the best chance of securing the support they need.”
Laura Dyer, deputy chief executive, places and engagement executive, Arts Council England, said: “Every part of our cultural ecology is under threat.
“The Arts Council is responding quickly, with an Emergency Funding Package, but this can only be part of the solution.
“We are working with our partners in local government and the broader voluntary sector to align our efforts. Our collaboration will be crucial to supporting our sector through the coronavirus crisis.
“Culture is vital. It can help people and communities deal with the current situation, and it will play its part in the coming recovery.”