Arts, heritage and culture sector

Business Support - Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

We know our cultural organisations have had to make some difficult decisions in recent weeks and we have been working to support you as best we can.

Most major funders have released their emergency funding packages, which we have listed here.

Information correct as of 9 April 2020 –  check the links for the most current updates.

Arts Council England

Offering financial support via grant application to individual artists and arts organisations that are not part of the National Portfolio (NPO’s).

Individuals can apply for up to £2500, organisations up to £35,000 to be spent within 6 months.

Easy read guidance on the emergency response fund for individuals

Easy read guidance on the emergency response fund for organisations

Round one opens for applications on 9 April 2020 and applicants will need to register on the Grantium web application portal by 13 April in order to make an application before the deadline of 12pm (midday) 16 April.

Round two opens for applications on 16 April 2020 and applicants will need to register on the Grantium web application portal by 27 April in order to make an application before the deadline of 30 April.

If you apply to the first round you will not be able to apply to the second round, even if we are unable to offer you a grant in the first round.

ACE will split the budget equally across both rounds. Apply to the round that suits your circumstances best.

Outdoor Arts UK (OAUK)

As part of Arts Council England’s emergency funding measures, OAUK has been asked to distribute a fund of £500,000 to directly support individuals in the Outdoor Arts sector during this challenging time, who don’t qualify for other funds.

The Arts Council have made this fund available to OutdoorArtsUK to support freelance and self-employed individuals working in the Outdoor Arts sector, including street arts, carnival, street dance, mela and the outdoor festival context within funded, non-funded and commercial festivals. These freelancers are particularly affected by the seasonal nature of their work, making the vast majority of their annual income in the summer months.

This includes – but is not limited to – those identifying as professional and/or specialist artists (e.g. dedicated street performers, circus artists and aerialists, stilt performers, project directors) and technicians (e.g. riggers, projectionists pyrotechnicians, specialist designers and makers). This also includes outdoor programmers and bookers, technical and production staff, volunteer managers, participation and engagement leaders.

We expect to have the application process ready in the week of 6 Apr, when we will publish the criteria and have a relatively simple online application process. We aim to have the funds available in early May.

This is very much aimed at those individuals who do not fit the main ACE Emergency Funding categories or those who do not qualify for government support. We ask you to check the other funds before you apply for this one. We will look at each case individually.

Individuals may apply for £500-£2500 and, in case we don’t know you, we will ask for a referee to vouch for your place in the Outdoor Arts sector. If you applied for the previous OAUK Micro-grant fund, you will need to apply again for this one. More details on the process will be released week beginning 6 Apr.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

£50m fund available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000.

It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.

Organisations which have received funding in the past or are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can apply.

Priority will be given where:

  • there is limited or no access to other sources of support
  • where heritage is most at risk
  • where an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Applicants must be:

  • a not-for-profit organisation, and
  • a current or previous recipient of a grant directly from us, and
  • an owner, manager or representative of heritage, or have an evidenced track record in delivering participatory heritage activity 

When to apply:

Applications open on Wednesday 15 April and you can apply any time up to Tuesday 30 June.

National Lottery Community Fund

All funding decisions for the next six months will prioritise getting funding to groups best placed to support their communities at this vital time focusing initially on existing grant-holders and applicants.

We will prioritise:

  • Organisations supporting people who are at high risk from Covid-19
  • Organisations supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of Covid-19
  • Organisations with high potential to support communities with the direct and indirect impact of Covid-19

If you would like to put in an application that is not related to Covid-19, you are still welcome to do so. However, please be aware that there is likely to be greater competition for our funding, and a delay in our ability to respond.

Information on CEC Cultural Framework grants

The Cultural Economy Team have honoured all existing funding agreements for 2020/21 and are working to ensure swift payment of invoices to support cashflow within organisations. Grants will be paid with acknowledgement that agreed outcomes and timescales will be revised with organisations to what is achievable and realistic.

We are not currently processing any new Cultural Framework grants. Once the imminent crisis has passed, our approach will be to work strategically to provide sector support, and enable new projects to become available as the need for this expands. We anticipate our priorities will be to ensure the cultural sector is thriving, and to help people adjust back to life after lockdown has been lifted.

Keep in touch with your regular officer within the Cultural Economy Team on the details below. We may not always know the answers to your queries, but we will always endeavour to support you:

Amy Lewis
Cultural Economy Development Manager

Janey Moran
Cultural Economy Development Manager

Andrew Latham
Outdoor Events Manager

Helen Paton
Cultural Economy Manager

CEC Community Bright Ideas Fund Grants are temporarily suspended.

Cheshire East business helping business

We want to help businesses across the borough to support each other during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Our business helping business scheme seeks to match businesses that are in need of help, to those that are in a position to help across a number of areas.

Leave us your details if you would like to offer support or need to access help.

Job Matching Service 

Our Supported Employment team want to job match people who are coming out of work as a result of Covid-19 with local employers who are looking to recruit temporarily.  

if you are a local employer who is looking to recruit we can source potential employees to meet current recruitment demand. Email your requirements to