The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced a new funding initiative that will provide grants of up to £5,000 for UK grassroots music venues.

The Pipeline Investment Fund, which has been established with the support of members of the Music Venues Alliance, has been funded by donations from ticket sales of MVT’s recent Revive Live programme of gigs around the UK, in partnership with The National Lottery.

The fund is now open for applications from UK-based grassroots music venues to support two areas of work: small-scale capital applications, including lights, sound, access, ventilation and minor building alterations; and staff and training, including workforce diversification, succession planning, skills development and strengthening local community ties.

MVT said the fund will prioritise support for organisations that may be excluded from other available funding. The charity is seeking further donations, particularly from the wider music industry, to maintain and expand the fund and make it a permanent source of support for grassroots venues.

MVT CEO Mark Davyd said, “We have been working on music industry-based funding support for Grassroots Music Venues since 2018. The launch of the Pipeline Investment Fund is an important indication of how the grassroots sector supports and nurtures each other. It provides a targeted opportunity for individuals, companies and organisations right across the industry to get involved and provide direct and meaningful financial assistance to the venues which support artists to launch and build their careers. We hope that the industry will see this as a real chance to make a genuine difference.”

Following a 28% reduction in the number of shows taking place in the grassroots circuit in the last year, with nearly 50,000 fewer shows taking place in the last 12 months than in the same period in 2019, MVT has also called on PRS For Music and The Arts Council to continue providing support to the grassroots live music sector at its annual Venues Day gathering, which took place yesterday, 18 October.

The PRS For Music board recently voted to reduce funding of its PRS Foundation from 2024 and Arts Council England announced that it will be ending its Supporting Grassroots Live Music grant scheme in March 2023. Addressing delegates at Venues Day, MVT CEO Mark Davyd said, “This is the wrong time to take money out of the grassroots ecosystem, whether that’s for venues, for artists, or for touring. We strongly urge PRS for Music and Arts Council England to think again. The number of opportunities for new and emerging artists to perform is absolutely vital to the future health of UK live music, and we need to see those opportunities financially supported more than ever before. This is not the time for cuts to funding.”