Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Dayvd highlights the fact that the nine day Cultural Recovery Fund Round 3 application window, and the complex process involved, discriminates against parents and carers and favours larger organisations.
Culture Recovery Fund Round 3 is a £300 million investment intended to support cultural organisations and businesses to survive through the crisis and ensure that previous investment in rounds 1 and 2 is not wasted. Regrettably, this will not be achieved by the current application timeline, which discriminates against parents and carers and favours larger organisations.
The Government has insisted upon an application window for Culture Recovery Fund Round 3 which is a time limited, very short, period entirely contained within School Summer Holidays. This issue is compounded by a complex application which requires input from multiple members of staff and outside agencies, plus comprehensive financial documents which will need to be freshly created for this purpose.
Music Venue Trust has repeatedly raised with the Secretary of State, the Culture Minister, DCMS and Arts Council England that this application window, 16 August to 27 August, allied to the complex application process presents significant risk of excluding parents and carers.
Inadequate notice of this application window was provided for parents and carers to make alternative plans, to change planned caring arrangements, or arrange childcare. The Government is fully aware of this challenge but has declined to respond to requests to provide an extension for those affected.
This is a pointless and counterintuitive stance for the Government to take; the aim of the fund is to get vital financial support into cultural organisations and businesses that may fail without it. That aim can be achieved by ensuring that it is equally open to all. DCMS and Arts Council England plainly understand this to be the aim, since extension to the timeline is being inconsistently and sporadically granted to applicants requesting help on the basis of illness.
Parents and carers should not be placed in the position of being unable to access the fund because of their responsibilities. They should not be disadvantaged from making applications to the fund by an arbitrary window of opportunity which is already being varied for others. The Government should act quickly to prevent discrimination against parents and carers and permit them access to the possibility of receiving the financial support they need.
There is a simple solution to this challenge: Extend the window of application for CRF 3 to 10 September for parents and carers.
Arts Council England state that they “know there are barriers to entry into the (cultural) sector for working class people, and we’re committed to changing this”. In this case it is possible for them to change this by not excluding working parents and carers from funding they desperately need.
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