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Proposals to repurpose existing funds to support Renfrewshire’s culture sector recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 have been approved by councillors.

The proposals, which were presented at today’s Leadership Board (Wednesday 16 September), recommended that £200,000 previously allocated to Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund be adapted to become Renfrewshire’s Cultural Recovery and Renewal Fund to support local cultural organisations and artists impacted by the pandemic.

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The changes recognise that the focus of the previous Culture Heritage and Event Fund no longer fits the need of the sector as individuals and organisations are unable to deliver projects effectively due to ongoing lockdown restrictions.

Renfrewshire’s Cultural Recovery and Renewal Fund will now be split across three strands; Cultural Organisations Support – grants for cultural and creative not-for-profit organisations facing significant threat which are ineligible for the Business Support Fund; Arts development grant – aimed at freelance artists living and working in Renfrewshire to help develop new work and Town Centre & Neighbourhood Creative Installations –  supporting artistic interventions across Renfrewshire that add value to public and civic outdoor spaces.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “The value of culture and creativity has been one of the defining elements of the pandemic – a time when it has never been more challenging for the sector.

“Renfrewshire’s Culture Sector has responded with innovation and care helping to support the community and lift our spirits in a number of creative ways including delivering online content like classes, exhibitions and concerts, and by making  projects like creativity boredom boxes available.

“This sector has been such an important part of the area’s history and is a key part of the vision for its future and this is why we must do what we can to support it at a time when it is experiencing its greatest challenges.”

Renfrewshire Leisure, on behalf of Renfrewshire Council, will now move on to develop the eligibility, criteria and assessment processes – aiming for applications for the funds to be open by the end of 2020 and distributed in the early part of 2021.

Renfrewshire’s Cultural Recovery and Renewal Fund is supported by Future Paisley – a programme of economic, social and physical regeneration building on the work already done to use Paisley’s internationally significant culture and heritage story to change its fortunes.