Culture Recovery Fund

The Culture Recovery Fund is an unprecedented fund set up to tackle the crisis that has faced our most loved cultural organisations and heritage sites during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Culture Recovery Board was created to oversee the delivery of the Fund.

Culture and the coronavirus pandemic

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the unprecedented challenges it brought to culture and creativity across the UK, the government announced a series of measures in March 2020 to help save these sectors, maintaining jobs and keeping businesses afloat.

These included:

  • The Bounce Back Loan Schemes
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • VAT reductions for tourism and hospitality firms
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

On 5 July 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund rescue package for cultural organisations to help the sector survive, and when possible, reopen.

On 25 June 2021 the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund was announced to provide further support to cultural, heritage and creative sectors as they recover and reopen. The final part of the fund is currently in the assessment phase. Links with further information on the funds can be found on the website of each delivery body:

Role of the Culture Recovery Board

The Culture Recovery Board was created to:

  • provide recommendations on the allocation of the largest and more complex grants
  • make decisions on the repayable finance element of the Fund
  • provide assurance on smaller revenue grants under £1million, and
  • oversee the key delivery risks and issues for the programme

The Board has an independent chair, Sir Damon Buffini, and includes the chairs (or a nominated board member) from each of the relevant Arm’s Length Bodies (Arts Council England, British Film Institute, Historic England, and The National Lottery Heritage Fund). It also includes: the Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, Lord Neil Mendoza; a senior Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport official; and five independent board members.

Board members bring a wide range of experience and expertise to the process of assuring the overall programme and awarding repayable finance, ensuring it is working to protect arts, culture and heritage for people across the country.

Board members

Sir Damon Buffini (Chair)

Founding partner, and now senior adviser, of Permira, as well as Chair of the Royal National Theatre and of the Royal Anniversary Trust. Damon was knighted in 2016 for philanthropic and voluntary services.

Baroness Kate Fall

Senior Advisor at Brunswick Group LLP and member of the House of Lords, sitting on the International Relations and Defence Select Committee (from July 2019). Kate was formerly deputy Chief of Staff to Prime Minister David Cameron for 6 years.

Jay Hunt

Governor (Board member) of the British Film Institute (BFI), as well as Apple TV + Creative Director for Europe. She is the only person to have led BBC One, Channel 5 and Channel 4, and was Controller of BBC Daytime and Director of Programmes at Channel 5.

Carol Lake

Managing Director, Corporate Responsibility at J.P. Morgan, and has served on the boards of the Almeida Theatre, The Young Vic, Sadler’s Wells, Battersea Arts Centre and Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Sir Laurie Magnus

Chair of Historic England, and is a Senior Adviser at Evercore Partners. He holds a number of listed company non-executive directorships within the finance sector, and has over 40 years’ experience in the corporate finance advisory business.

Lord Neil Mendoza

Provost of Oriel College, and formerly led the year-long Mendoza Review of Museums in England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and a review for the Cabinet Office on the national museums. Neil is Chair of The Landmark Trust, The Illuminated River Foundation, and in 2020 was appointed as Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal.

Simon Thurley

Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Provost of Gresham College. He was formerly Chief Executive of English Heritage for 13 years; ran the Museum of London; and was a Curator of Historic Royal Palaces for 8 years.

Hemant Patel

Finance Director of Premier Inn & Restaurants at Whitbread plc, as well as chair of the audit and risk committee in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was formerly Chair of the Royal Armouries.

Sir Nicholas Serota

Chair of Arts Council England (ACE) - joining in 2017 after serving 29 years as the Director at Tate. He was a member of the Olympic Delivery Authority and is now also a member of the Board of the BBC.

Samir Shah

Chief Executive and Creative Director of Juniper, an independent television and radio production company. He is Chair of the Museum of the Home and was, from 2005 to 2014, a Trustee, then Deputy Chair of the V&A.

Emma Squire

Director of Arts, Heritage and Tourism in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Her Directorate sponsors the Arts Council England, fifteen national museums and galleries and major heritage and tourism bodies; as well as leading on the UK City of Culture programme, tourism, cultural diplomacy and cultural protection.

Claire Whitaker

Bid Director for Southampton UK City of Culture and a Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. She formerly was an owner/director of live music producers, Serious, and Director of Africa 95, a cross art form celebration of the arts of Africa.

Register of interests

We have robust measures in place to monitor and mitigate where board members have conflicts of interest. This includes keeping an up-to-date register of interests, and processes for ensuring that where members of the board have declared an interest that they are not involved in any relevant decision making or discussions.

All Board members signed up to a robust conflict of interest policy which includes declaring all personal or professional conflicts both generally and in advance of each meeting, recusing themselves from discussion and voting rights of any application in which they have an interest, and guaranteeing not to discuss the scheme and applications process in any way with any organisation that applied.

Latest news

Emergency funding available for arts, culture and heritage doubled to £60 million to tackle impact of Omicron

925 cultural organisations supported by £107 million in latest recovery fund

Third round of Culture Recovery Fund to secure future of thousands of organisations

£400 million to help more than 2,700 arts, culture, heritage organisations and independent cinemas survive and thrive

More than £18 million awarded in final grants from first round of Culture Recovery Fund

Two hundred independent cinemas supported through the Culture Recovery Fund this Christmas

More than £165 million in repayable finance announced to support major arts and heritage institutions as Culture Recovery Fund marks £1 billion milestone

Lifeline grants for culture in all corners of the country

£75 million for iconic arts venues and cultural organisations from Culture Recovery Fund

588 more arts organisations saved by £76 million in latest Culture Recovery Fund grants

£257 million to save 1385 theatres, arts venues, museums and cultural organisations across England

445 heritage organisations saved by £103 million investment from Government

42 cinemas to share £650,000 in first awards from the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas

Further information

Here for Culture Campaign Page and Toolkit

Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas

Culture Recovery Fund: Data | Arts Council England

Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage decisions 2020

Historic England: Mapped – Culture Recovery Funding Near You

Contact details