Creative Land Trust – Creative Workspace Resilience Fund

Applications to this fund are now closed.

The Mayor of London launched a new emergency £2.3m fund to help some of London's most at risk creative and night-time businesses. The targeted fund is designed to help grassroots music and LGBTQ+ venues, creative workspaces and independent cinemas. Full details of support from the Mayor's Culture at Risk team is available here.

As part of this wider work to support the creative sector as a whole, Creative Land Trust is administering a £1.5m grant fund – The Creative Workspace Resilience Fund - to help avoid the permanent closure of creative workspaces.

The Creative Workspace Resilience Fund has been launched with the intention of helping studio providers and creative workspace providers to support artists and makers to be able to afford space to work and to retain studio buildings.

The total amount available is up to £1.5m. It is estimated that the average grant per organisation will be in the range of £5,000 to £15,000. Grants must be used within 6 months of being offered or otherwise should be repaid.

There are no formal match funding requirements for this Fund but we will expect to see clear evidence that you are actively seeking to reduce costs, secure support from other appropriate sources and that the benefit of your organisation receiving the funds is passed onto your creative tenants in the form of reduced occupancy costs.

The deadline for applications to the Creative Workspace Resilience Fund is Wednesday 20th of May. We do not anticipate issuing a further call for applications, but this may be reviewed if the impact of Covid-19 is longer than anticipated and subject to initial demands on the Fund.

What is this Fund for?

The purpose of this fund is to support activity that will help studio and creative workspace providers reduce occupancy costs for artists, makers and other creative tenants. This might include:

  • Helping to maintain and run studios and buildings - so that occupancy costs can be reduced e.g. through assistance with rent, utilities, insurance and maintenance costs etc.
  • Providing hardship grants to creative tenants to help them afford space to work during and after the crisis
  • Helping to secure reductions in running costs eg negotiating a rental discount with landlord or a break in mortgage payments

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must be

(i) a constituted organisation operating in London that provides space for artists, makers and other creatives space to work

AND can demonstrate:

(ii) a track record of space provision for the creative sector prior to 20 March 2020;

(iii) a commitment to affordability

AND

(iii) Be in immediate financial need;

Priority

The maximum impact of this funding will be felt through supporting artists and creatives to afford space to work during and after the crisis and securing buildings at risk of loss to the sector. This will therefore be the overarching focus for the Creative Workspace Resilience Fund but beyond that, priority will be given to applicants that:

  • are not able to access sufficient or any other emergency funds for those items for which they're seeking this support
  • have a freehold or long-leasehold property that is at risk of closure
  • have a track-record in provision of affordable space
  • have already registered or would be willing to join the Affordable Workspace Providers Accreditation scheme

Eligible costs

Activity intended to support your organisation in its response to the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis primarily to assist with your costs of occupancy so that you can reduce the costs of occupancy to your tenants. This is likely to be focussed on:

  • Rent/mortgage payments and utilities costs - limited to a contribution while you seek a rent or utility holiday from your landlord/supplier (you will need to let us know if such 'holidays' cannot be sought)
  • Insurance and maintenance costs
  • Support to tenants during the crisis

In addition, we can consider additional running costs such as:

  • Repayment of existing bank loans – we may be able to make a contribution towards these while you negotiate a loan holiday (you will need to let us know if such 'holidays' cannot be sought)
  • Staff costs – we expect all organisations to be looking after their staff and taking full advantage of the Job Retention Scheme etc. offered by the Government. We are only able to consider covering staffing costs not covered by any other means and would anticipate an explanation as to why they are included.

This list is not exhaustive and other items may be considered.

Ineligible costs

The following costs are ineligible under this Fund:

  • Costs or losses not incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Costs for beyond the next 6 months

In addition, we will not offer funding to cover costs that can be met by any of the Government's emergency measures such as, but not limited to:

  • The Job Retention Scheme
  • Deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
  • The Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • The 12month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5m for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • The HMRC Time to Pay Scheme
  • The Self Employment Income Support Scheme
  • Support from the Arts Council or your local authority

For further information on these schemes and other relevant information, please visit the Government's COVID-19 Support for Business page here.

To ensure our grant fund helps as many as possible we ask you to ensure you have exhausted all alternative forms of support available, please see our additional funding and guidance page here.

How to apply for funding

In the first instance you should contact us to register your interest by email and we will be in contact to discuss your application with you and advise what information is needed.

Please give careful thought to how much you need to request from this fund and only apply where no alternatives are available to you - this will help us ensure funding goes as far as possible. If you are seeking support from elsewhere but do not yet know if you'll be successful, you will be asked to set this out in your application.

The information requirements will depend on the level of funds being requested and their purpose, but will include some or all of the following:

  • An overview of your organisation's previous work demonstrating how you support the creative sector through the provision of shared workspace and outlining your approach to affordability, impact and diversity and inclusion.
  • An organisational budget for 2019-20 and most recent annual accounts
  • Your original 2020-21 organisational budget as drawn up before the Covid-19 crisis
  • A proposed organisational budget and cashflow statement for 2020-21 based on the assumption of 6-9 months disruption which shows clearly how much is being requested from us and what this will be directed towards
  • A short narrative that explains what income you have lost and what other measures you've taken to mitigate the impact of lockdown and the Covid-19 crisis (including use of reserves where applicable)
  • A copy of your lease or mortgage agreement and any evidence of negotiations to reduce/defer rent or loan repayments
  • A summary of the status of these measures (evidencing that you have exhausted all other reasonable options or are awaiting responses)
  • An overview of the impact of any emergency support that we can provide – what difference will it make?
  • An overview of what if any activity you are undertaking during closure in order to a) engage with your tenants and / or b) increase your future resilience e.g. planning, fundraising, putting together inclusion strategies etc.

Decision making

Decisions on applications to the Creative Workspace Resilience Fund will take into account the information provided in the application and the need to balance limited resources fairly. All applications will be evaluated by our grant funding team and reviewed by an Independent Panel against the following core criteria:

  • Severity of demonstrable need and lack of availability of other support measures or sources of funding
  • The difference the funding will make to your organisation's ability to get back on its feet
  • The impact funding will make on your ability to provide affordable creative workspace in future
  • The extent to which funding will contribute to securing a building for affordable space in the long-term
  • Value for money

We will expect organisations that benefit from this Fund to demonstrate that they will do all they can to support those freelancers and/or micro-businesses with which they work.

What happens next?

Step 1: To make sure our grant fund helps those who need it most, we are asking applicants to demonstrate they have exhausted all other relevant forms of support available. Please see our alternative funding guidance for additional grants, funding and schemes, available on our website here.

Step 2: Attached here is a draft of the application form to allow you to understand and prepare the information we need.

Step 3: If you have any questions about the application please see the FAQs document on our website, we will be updating this regularly with any common queries that arise. Then if you need additional support please book a call with us here and one of our team will be in touch.

Step 4: If you decide to apply, please first contact us at cultureatrisk@creativelandtrust.org. Because of the nature of the information requested we will create you a password-protected account to access and complete your application form. We recommend you prepare the free-text elements of the form in a separate document and paste them in to the form once you’re happy with them.

Please submit your application by 4pm on Wednesday 20th May.

After the deadline our grant team will assess all the applications received and will contact you to discuss any outstanding issues or questions. The team will then make recommendations for funding to our independent panel, who will make the final funding decisions.

We aim to let you know the outcome of your application within 15 working days of the submission deadline – this might be delayed if there are complexities or outstanding questions associated with your request. Not all grants will therefore be announced at the same time and due to the volume of funding requests we expect to receive, feedback will not always be possible.

Changes to this Fund

The Creative Land Trust has designed and launched this fund very quickly in order to ensure we can best support our beneficiaries. Because of this, we will be keeping our processes under review to ensure we are making best use of our resources, particularly in relation to any further announcements by Government and any changing circumstances in relation to Covid-19. We reserve the right to make changes to this programme, which may include changes to the focus, timing, budgets or amount of funds. We will communicate any changes as quickly as we can.