Sadiq Khan announces emergency fund to help support London's culture and creative industries

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a new emergency fund to help support London’s culture and creative industries during the coronavirus crisis.

As numerous cultural business, such as music venues, continue to struggle and even face closure as a result of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, the Mayor has stepped in to help alleviate the strain of the lockdown that’s being felt in these industries across London.

The Culture at Risk Business Support Fund, valued at £2.3 million, has been launched in co-ordination with the Music Venue Trust (MVT), the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and BFI to help multiple venues and artists in the capital.

Up to 147 grassroots music venues in London will benefit from the fund, with the MVT set to receive £450,000 from the fund to help it support music venues in need.

£225,000 of the fund will support 56 LGBTQ+ venues, while £1.5m is going to the Creative Land Trust to support the thousands of tenants across 200 artist studios workspaces. £150,000 will also go to the BFI to help up to 25 of London’s independent cinemas.

The Lexington
The Lexington venue in London (Picture: Press)

The organisations that are set to benefit most from the fund are those who at risk of falling into administration and are unable to benefit from Government schemes.

The culture and creative industries are worth £52 billion a year to London’s economy, and account for one in six jobs. In a statement about the fund, Khan said that these industries “are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis.”

“I’m pleased to be working together with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and the BFI to offer this emergency funding to those areas most at need, but we need the Government to step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs to protect its future,” he added.

Music Venue Trust’s Beverley Whitrick welcomed the funding, noting that “the greatest concentration of our members is in London”.

“These venues are some of the most impacted by the current crisis because the costs of running a venue in London are so high,” she said. “This funding from the Mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue, dedicating invaluable human resources, specialist advice and financial assistance where other measures come up short – everything possible to sustain these venues so they can reopen in the future and host artists and audiences safely and professionally.”

Earlier this week, the Music Venue Trust launched the ‘Save Our Venues’ campaign in a bid to stave off the continued economic threat to over 500 grassroots music venues throughout the UK.

The campaign, which has received backing from the Mayor of London, raised £100,000 for individual venues within the first 48 hours of it going live this week.