Arts and cultural organisations in Leeds are set to get some crucial extra support to help them bounce back from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leeds City Council’s Arts@Leeds funding scheme provides grants to more than 40 arts groups and venues, each playing their part in delivering a huge programme of exciting, city-wide cultural activity. Now every current Arts@Leeds recipient will be given an added financial boost to help the hard-hit sector recover and rebuild as they make plans to continue entertaining and engaging tens of thousands of people all across the city.
The newly-approved Additional Restrictions Grants (ARG) will see recipients get an additional one-off grant, with a total of £320k being distributed proportionately to support the sector. Among the recipients will be Artlink West Yorkshire, an arts and health based charity which delivers creative workshops alongside professional artists. Director Sylvie Fourcin said:
“Artlink West Yorkshire is delighted to receive the ARG – Restart Grant. Throughout the pandemic we have delivered more than 400 exciting and engaging creative toolkits a month across Leeds, to people with disabilities and people living with dementia.
“One of the support staff from AspireCBS described our work as ‘life changing’ for their customers as they have been very isolated during this time. The grant will enable Artlink to refresh our building and improve Covid safety measures so that as people gradually come back we can welcome them safely.”
Fellow recipients Jazz Leeds said their grant would allow them to plan for their Jazz Reset 21 Festival in the summer, a new venue for education workshops at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm Barn and a series of concerts at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton.
Steve Crocker, chair of the Jazz Leeds trustees said:
“Jazz Leeds are so lucky to have a supportive local authority that recognises the value of the arts. We are a completely volunteer run charity organisation that depends on our volunteers to survive and thrive.
“The pandemic has been hard for everyone – for musicians, venues, technical staff and for audience – but it has also been hard for our volunteers without whom the jazz promotion business would collapse completely. To have this vote of confidence is a real boost at a time when many people had thought of giving up.”
Also receiving a grant will be Chapeltown-based RJC Dance, who work to empower children, young people and adults through dance, movement and exercise. Director Kathy Williams said:
“This funding will help our organisation transition from exclusive online engagement with children, young people, adults and elders to enable a new blended service following the easing of the governments CV19 restrictions and access to our base at the Mandela Centre.
“This valuable and important investment will help us to reach more people and re-connect with more local families and communities.”
Recent evaluation of the impact of Arts@Leeds showed that in 2018–19, funded groups generated a total of £56,799,450 of income for Leeds, delivering more 2,331 activities. More than 126,000 also people participated in Arts@Leeds funded activities, which were watched by a total audience of more than 1.4 million people.
Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy and culture said:
“Arts and cultural organisations all across Leeds have shown such remarkable tenacity and creativity during the pandemic even in the face of so much uncertainty.
“For many of us facing challenges of our own, they also have offered a ray of hope as they found new and exciting ways to keep the people of Leeds connected, engaged and inspired.
“We hope this funding will give these fantastic organisations a chance to look to the future with a renewed sense of hope and optimism as they play a key part in getting life in Leeds back on track.”
For more details about Arts@Leeds, visit: www.artsatleeds.co.uk