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Source: Mayor of London

  • The Mayor’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund is helping to provide advice and guidance to 141 grassroots music venues who have been badly impacted by Covid-19
  • Venues have received one-to-one support from the Music Venue Trust to assist with rent disputes, discussions with councils and legal advice
  • 14 venues have received a total of £178,000 in funding so far, with more to be given in the coming months

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Night Czar Amy Lamé have revealed that City Hall funding is helping 141 grassroots music venues in the capital to receive support and guidance to deal with the impact of Covid-19.


The venues – who have had to close their doors for six months – have been receiving one-to-one support from the Music Venue Trust, thanks to the Mayor’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund.


Grassroots music venues provide an important stage for artists to develop their talents and support the night time economy, but the industry has been particularly hard hit with most venues still unable to open their doors. This has seen their finances completely dry up, with bar staff, security, cloakroom staff, singers, musicians and promoters all among those relying on music venues for income.


The Mayor has provided £450,000 to support grassroots music venues during this time and this funding has helped 141 venues with tailored advice and support, including assistance with rent disputes, discussions with councils and legal advice.


So far £178,000 has been directly awarded to 14 grassroots music venues across 10 London boroughs, helping some of the venues who have been hardest hit by the impact of Covid-19 with support towards rent relief, staff and invoice costs. Further City Hall funding is set to be given out to venues in the coming months.


The funding has also helped to negotiate payment holidays from landlords and suppliers to help with their cashflow and to unlock £2.3m of further funding for venues through local authorities.


The fund was created by the Mayor to support London’s world-renowned music scene following the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


The Mayor is also providing help and advice to venues and creatives through the Culture at Risk Office and the London Growth Hub, launched Pay It Forward London to help customers buy goods and services in advance, and lobbying Government with his Night Czar Amy Lamé to get venues the support they need. This includes calling on Government to extend the furlough scheme for the cultural sector given the significant impact the pandemic has had on the industry.


It’s the latest in a series of work from the Mayor to support music venues and help stabilise the number following a decade of decline, and part of his wider efforts to help the culture and creative industries.


The creative industries contribute £58 billion to London’s economy every year and provide one in six jobs in London, however without support the impact of Covid-19 is set to cost the economy £16.5bn and put 154,000 jobs at risk. The Mayor’s £2.3m Culture at Risk Business Support Fund has also provided £225,000 to support LGBTQ+ venues and £1.5m has gone to supporting artists and creative businesses with 82 grants to artists workspaces, helping 11,500 individuals. In addition, £150,000 has supported 15 independent cinemas across London.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: London’s music scene is the envy of the world and integral to our economy at night, but it has been devastated by the impact of Covid-19. I am pleased that we have been able to support music venues with essential advice and support to stay in business, and provide funding for those most in need to cover rent and other ongoing expenses at this challenging time. We will continue to do all we can to help, including pushing Government to protect jobs and provide the clear guidance that is required so they can plan for their future in our capital.”


Amy Lamé, Night Czar, said: “Our grassroots music venues are at the heart of so many of our communities. They bring Londoners together, provide a stage for aspiring artists and boost our night time economy by supporting a wide range of jobs, from artists to promoters, and bar staff and security. We’ve worked hard to support these crucial venues and stabilise their numbers over the last four years, but the impact of Covid-19 has been catastrophic. This funding and support is helping them survive right now, but we urgently need the Government to step forward with a plan to help the industry and prevent the closure of more venues.”


Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director, Music Venue Trust, said: “The greatest concentration of the UK grassroots music venues Music Venue Trust works with is in London. These venues are incredibly varied in terms of their programming, the communities around them and the way they operate. They are essential to London’s culture, providing talent development opportunities as well as a focus for diverse creative communities across the capital. Funding from The Mayor enabled us to create a team to talk with every venue individually about how they will survive the current crisis, advise them on help that is available to them and assist them in applying to appropriate funding. The ability to give direct financial assistance to the venues most in need to ensure that they sustain has been fantastic and we are incredibly grateful that London continues to demonstrate its support for grassroot music venues in such a tangible way.”


Pauline Forster, The George Tavern, said: “The support that The George Tavern has received during this challenging time has been invaluable. I’m hugely grateful to the Music Venue Trust for their expertise in helping us survive to this stage. The grant from the Mayor’s Culture at Risk Fund gives us a real lifeline while we are operating under covid restrictions.”


Nick Letchford, The Victoria, said: “At every stage of this health crisis, the Music Venue Trust has been there for us. Their advice and guidance at the most stressful of times, as well as their moral and emotional support, has been consistently  amazing. We are incredibly grateful to them and the Mayor’s Culture at Risk Fund. The grant that we received helped us to get our doors open again in a limited fashion. Without it, we would no longer exist as a live music venue.”




MIL OSI United Kingdom