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Results of our COVID-19 sector survey

Funding, Training and Lobbying: North East arts, heritage and culture organisations tell us what they need to help them navigate COVID-19

In our recent check-in with over 100 North East arts, heritage and culture organisations our aim was to understand how the sector was being impacted by COVID-19.

The purpose was two-fold:

  • To be informed by a range of voices: the North East Culture Partnership often acts as representatives for the sector in discussion with local government and funders, so it’s important for us to understand your views. Our three Partnership Managers (Matthew, Peter and Teresa) are in regular conversations with cultural leaders, and our recent survey enables us to add more detail to those conversations.
  • To understand how we can support the sector: the North East Culture Partnership is not a funder, so it is important for us to understand the range of challenges organisations are facing so that we may direct our resources accordingly.

These early findings are helping us to understand how we can best support the sector in the coming months. This amongst a range of other insights and initiatives will inform the conversations we are having with the NELEP Recovery Planning Team, where we are acting as representatives for the north east arts and culture sector.

The data and analyses can be downloaded here. > COVID-19 Sector Check-In Analysis


Key highlights

Adapting to the changing circumstance

  • 79% of organisations said they could offer services online, however, there was a concern about how this could be funded.
  • 58% are adapting their work and working on ways to support local communities, vulnerable people, mental health – over the coming weeks we will be sharing examples from a range of organisations who are making progress in delivering this. If you would like to share an example from your organisation, please email

The financial impact

  • 65% face financial losses of between 50 to 100%
  • 34% said that had lost all work and events with a particular impact on the self-employed

Accessing support schemes

  • Only 17% of freelancers said they could access government support
  • 46% said the Government support for SMEs was not relevant to their organisation
  • 17% will benefit from business rate relief

Managing staff and contractors

  • 45% are reducing staff costs through redundancy, furloughing, cancelling contracts
  • Only 10% have been able to redeploy or find alternative work to retain staff

What does the sector need?

Through the temperature check, we were able to gather information on the needs of the sector, which fall into three categories funding, training, and lobbying.

View a full list by downloading the report here. > COVID-19 Sector Check-In Analysis

Examples included; provide light-touch emergency funds, and funding post lockdown; offer secondments/opportunities to staff on furlough and lobby at a national level for continued/more support.


How will we support the sector?

Our role as a representative for the North East art and heritage sectors puts us in a strong position to lobby both regionally and nationally.

This will include:

  • Continue to lobby government to highlight the importance of the arts and the necessity to fund creatives during this time;
  • Continue to lobby at a national level for continued support;
  • To publicly recognise the value of the arts, heritage and culture sector during these times and rally support from the general public.

In addition to our ongoing championing of the sector, over the coming months, we will also be looking ahead strategically.

We’ll focus our staff resources on developing, consulting and delivering a practical Culture and Tourism Recovery and Resilience Plan for the North East.

Through this we will:

  • Make a clear case for art, heritage, culture and tourism as part of the region’s wider economic and community recovery, in partnership with LEPS, Combined Authorities, local authorities, North East Tourism Alliance and regional and national funders.
  • Encourage financial investment and support for our arts, heritage and tourism organisations to sustain and recover from the current crisis.
  • Implement press, communications and social media around the role of our arts and heritage organisations during the recovery period and build on digital initiatives emerging from the sector.

Read more about the Culture and Tourism Recovery and Resilience Plan here. 

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