The Executive and the Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, have provided Covid recovery funding for arts organisations and a range of other not-for-profit organisations.

The aim of the Covid Recovery Programme for Arts Organisations is to reduce or remove operating deficits in eligible organisations, which have arisen in the 2021/22 financial year because of the Covid pandemic.

To achieve this the Covid Recovery Programme for Arts Organisations will support eligible organisations which have been negatively affected by the pandemic in the financial year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 and which have a financial operating deficit during that period which is attributable in full or in part to Covid.

Available Funding

The maximum amount of funding available to an eligible organisation under this Programme is £50,000.

Exceptionally, a greater amount of funding may be available to eligible organisations that can demonstrate that the deficit attributable to Covid in the financial year is greater than £50,000 and that the organisation requires funding in excess of that sum to stabilise financially.

In the event that the proposed awards exceed available funding, those organisations with the largest operating deficits will get priority.

Organisations applying for more than £50,000 must make contact with the Arts Council before doing so.

Who can apply?

Applications are welcome from:

  • Constituted organisations/companies whose primary purpose relates to the categories below and which carry out the majority of their work in Northern Ireland.
  • Arts, cultural and community venues’ main use must be for one of the categories below.
  • Arts, culture and community organisations whose primary role is to create, present or support one (or more) of these categories:

    • Dance
    • ­

    • Drama
    • ­

    • Literature
    • ­

    • Music and Opera
    • ­

    • Traditional Arts
    • ­

    • Visual Arts
    • ­

    • Performing arts and theatre
    • ­

    • Festivals and cultural events
    • ­

    • Participatory Arts
    • ­

    • Circus, Street Theatre and Carnival
    • ­

    • Comedy
    • ­

    • Cross Art form
    • ­

    • Community Arts
    • ­

    • Craft

Please use the Eligibility Checklist to determine if it is appropriate that you apply to the Covid Recovery Programme for Arts Organisations.


Download Guidance notes here

Download Frequently Asked Questions here

Download Eligibility Checklist here

Download Financial Overview Template (Annex A) here

Download Deficit Calculator here
This Excel spreadsheet template may be a helpful tool in the calculation of an operating deficit. You may wish to use it, or not – for some it may not be suitable because you have operationalised in a different way. There is no mandatory requirement to use it nor does it need to be submitted with your application.

Information sessions

NICVA hosted two online information sessions on the Covid Recovery Programme for Organisations, with representatives from each of the delivery bodies. You can watch a recording here.

How to apply?

You must apply using ACNI’s online system. ACNI will not accept applications in hard copy or by email.

  • Online applications may be edited, saved, and returned up to the closing date.
  • You must submit all mandatory enclosures associated with the application at the same time as your application, i.e. they must be uploaded to your online application prior to its submission. If you realise after submitting your online application that you have not included all the mandatory enclosures you must resubmit a new application with all the relevant mandatory enclosures included before the application deadline of 12noon on Friday 28 January 2022. We cannot accept additional material by any other method or after the deadline. These enclosures are listed on the Attachments page within the online application.
  • Please ensure that you leave sufficient time to upload all documents to the system as there can be long delays as the closing deadline approaches and the system will shut down at 12 noon precisely on the closing date, Friday 28 January 2022.
  • If your complete application is not fully uploaded when the system closes, your application will not be accepted.
  • If you submit your application by the closing deadline, you will receive an automated email advising that your application has been successfully submitted to the system.
  • If you do not receive this email, your application has not been submitted.

Please remember that it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that ACNI receive the application form and uploaded enclosures by the closing time and date.

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