ORGANISATIONS in East Lancashire are benefitting from £200,000 of emergency funding from the Arts Council after incomes dropped significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Arts Council announced on Tuesday that £212,000 has been awarded to 12 organisations across the east of the county through its Covid-19 emergency response package, with help from the National Lottery and Government.

Catherine Mitchell, director (North) at Arts Council England, said: “Lancashire has an exciting cultural scene thanks to the many individuals and organisations who make the county their home.

“The work they create helps to contribute to the vibrant cultural landscape across the county and North West.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to support many of them through our Emergency Response Fund.

“In this unprecedented time for the arts and culture sector I hope that our funding will enable them to tackle the immediate challenges that they face during this pandemic.

“We have also been able to support many first-time applicants to the Arts Council from across the North West through this programme, many of whom are from underrepresented groups.

“And I’d like to thank National Lottery players as this programme has only been made possible through investment from the National Lottery and Government.”

The organisation has recently moved into the ‘stabilisation’ phase of its planning, in which our main aim is to support the sector to reopen, adapt business models and build the capability to operate in a changed environment.

One of the organisations to benefit from the funding is DanceSyndrome in Accrington, a community group which teaches people with disabilities to dance, which got just over £32,000 from the Arts Council.

The group had to move all its dance workshops and development groups online within days of lockdown being announced and, like many small charities, has struggled to maintain its funding throughout the crisis.

Sarah Calderbank, project coordinator at DanceSyndrome, said: “Taking the classes onto Zoom has been really well received because it's so much more interactive and people can see each other dancing, plus they get that live feedback from our dance artists and dance leaders, so that was the next step for us.

“However, we rely on the income from people attending our sessions and when you take that away we're then relying on donations, which have dried up because people have been concerned about their own finances.

“All of that fundraising has become virtually impossible in the current climate, so the grant from the Arts Council has really plugged the gap for us.”

The charity added that it hopes to return to face-to-face classes later in the year when it is safe, but said the situation remains uncertain.

Across Lancashire, the Arts Council has awarded 87 grants totalling £195,462 to individual artists and creative practitioners, as well as £596,562 awarded to 33 organisations.