Covid-19 & Resilience Resources: Foundation Round Up of Arts & Culture Funding, Commissions and Opportunities

27 March 2020
By Amy Zamarripa Solis

During these rapidly changing times, we are currently developing new ways to flexibly support our local communities through our upcoming programmes. In the meantime, we have gathered some key funding, commissions and opportunities to support people and organisations working in the arts, cultural, community and innovation sectors in East London.

We will update this list in the coming months so please check back. This list is not meant to be exhaustive – please contact us on if you know of a critical resource that would benefit others working in these sectors.

Read: Coronavirus update and how it will affect our work

Read: Covid-19 guidance for Connecting People & Places Fund

Published 27 March 2020
Last updated: 18 Febuary 2021

General Health — Local Authority


Arts Council England — Developing Your Creative Practice

The fund supports creative practitioners thinking of taking their practice to the next stage to research, have time to create new work, travel, training, develop ideas, network or find mentoring. ACE is investing £18 million of National Lottery funding between October 2020 to October 2021, over four rounds.

Grant range: £2,000 – £10,000

Eligibility: Individual artists and/or creative practitioners. You can find full eligibility criteria in the guidance for applicants. Organisations cannot apply.

See website for next round.

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Arts Council England Project Grants

After a brief closure of the fund in the immediate aftermath of the covid-19 crisis, ACE will re-open its National Lottery Project Grants on 22 July, with a budget of £59.8 million available until April 2021. ACE will be making improvements to make the fund more responsive to the needs of smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners during Covid-19. The fund will prioritise reopening this programme to help fund independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible. Updated guidance for the programme will be published by mid-July.

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Arts Funding & Philantropy: Virtual Networks Funding

Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy is bringing forward its next allocation of Networks Funding to support the sector in thinking about new ways of working – innovative approaches to virtual support mechanisms, investing in software to help existing networks to sustain themselves, and ensuring that remote, sole fundraisers can feel part of something bigger during this difficult time.

Organisations and groups can apply for support towards the cost of speakers, trainers, software to facilitate virtual meetings, resource materials and any other relevant expenditure for an event or activity to take place before Monday 7th September 2020. Deadline 14 April

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Authors’ Emergency Fund

Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), Royal Literary Fund (RLF), T S Eliot Foundation in partnership with English PEN, and Amazon UK generously contributed financial resources to create the Authors’ Emergency Fund, to help support authors impacted financially by the growing health crisis. Applications are open to all professional authors who are resident in the UK or British subjects – including all types of writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others – for whom author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. Grants are likely to be up to £2,000 and designed to meet urgent need with the possibility of review as the situation continues.

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Big Change

Young person education and social impact accelerator Big Change is launching its Q2 funding to prioritise projects and ideas that have the potential to bring about big change in education for the long term, but need to start urgently, in response to covid-19. These ideas need to be in line with the Big Change’s 10 hopes for education and demonstrate the usual principles it look for when backing projects:

  • Does the applicant have a bold ambition for system change, with the potential to significantly impact on the broader sector? What is the unique and disruptive insight that can really change the way things are done?
  • Does the proposal demonstrate that there is a clear and compelling need? Is there a clear benefit to the education/youth development sector in the UK, and would the project have support from sector experts and other practitioners?
  • Does the team have passionate leadership: are the right people in place with the expertise and experience to fulfil their big ambition?
  • Does the idea have a smart and sustainable operating model? Will it work in reality and be able to sustain in the longer term?
  • Is the project a good fit for Big Change: can we add significant value to the project?

Applicants can find more information on this funding and submit your idea via this Google form. Prospective applicants can get in touch with Caitlin Ross, Impact Manager at Big Change

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Big Local

Local Trust has announced additional funding for the 150 areas taking part in the Big Local programme. Big Local areas will each be receiving an extra £50,000 on top of the £1.1 million already committed to allow them to further support their communities.

There are Big Local areas in:

  • Hackney Wick
  • Aberfeldy
  • Plaistow South
  • St James Street Area
  • William Morris Big Local/Urban By Nature

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Blagrave Foundation: Challenge and Change

Challenge and Change is a fund co-created by The Blagrave Trust, the Centre for Knowledge Equity and Young Advisers (Daze Aghaji, Chloe Deakin, Jovan Nepaul). In its first wave of funding, the Challenge and Change fund has £80,000 to invest in young people aged 18-25 working on youth-led social, economic and climate justice initiatives across England. Applicants can apply for grants between £1,000 to £10,000 to take their work to the next level.


  • Applicants must be 18-25 and based in England
  • Applicants can be individuals, constituted or unconstituted groups (e.g. community groups, networks, movements) led by young people aged 18-25 or organisations founded by and/or led by young people aged 18-25 (e.g. charities, social enterprises).

Applications close at 11.59pm on 27 July 2020. Decisions will be shared on 20-27 August 2020

For more information, please contact: Philippa Knott at

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Coronavirus Appeal: East End Emergency Fund

East End Community Foundation has set up the East End Emergency Fund. Funds from this appeal will go towards local community groups and projects working to help the most needy and vulnerable during this crisis across Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham. This will include regular contact for isolated people, advice and help with access to medical services, shopping deliveries and other support. It will also support foodbanks and other services for the most vulnerable in our community, additionally it will enable these groups and projects to change the way they work overnight.

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Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund

Freelance creative practitioners based in England and Northern Ireland who work in the visual arts and are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic can apply for grants of £1,500 – £2,500. Applications are accepted from 2:00pm on Thursday 7th May until 2:00pm on Thursday 18th June 2020 and decisions will be made on a weekly basis. You can apply at any time. There are no deadlines. Applicants will be informed of decisions approximately two weeks after submitting their application.

The £1.5m Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund is supported by the Freelands Foundation, in partnership with a-n The Artists Information Company, as part of a landmark commitment of £3m towards emergency funds for artists and freelance creative practitioners across the UK affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

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Future Fund

The Government has made £250 million available for the Future Fund. The Future Fund issues convertible loans to innovative UK companies that typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19. The scheme will help these companies through the current period of economic disruption and their recovery. Government loans could range from £125,000 to £5m, and will be managed by the British Business Bank (BBB). Lead investors will apply on behalf of startups (and other investors) via an online portal. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a limited £250m pot of government funding available. Although the scheme is open until September, it may be used up well before then.

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Green Recovery Challenge Fund

Grants from £50,000 to £5m are now available to kick-start the nation’s green recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.  The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is open to environmental charities and partnerships that include at least one environmental charity, with projects in England that are ready to start.

All projects must contribute to at least one of the following themes:

  • nature conservation and restoration
  • nature based solutions, particularly focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation such as through tree planting and restoring peatland
  • connecting people with nature

Projects will be favoured that create or retain jobs, providing opportunities and benefits for all ages, including young people. Projects from both rural, urban and inshore marine areas are welcomed.

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Hackney Giving Coronavirus Response Fund

Hackney Giving coronavirus response fund is appealing for funding so that we can support grassroots community organisations affected by the coronavirus crisis with a rapid response programme. Donations will allow grants of up to £3,000 to:

  • organisations working with older people and people from vulnerable groups that will be disproportionately affected by the outbreak
  • organisations working with homeless people and refugees
  • organisations supporting residents with mental health needs
  • organisations that are supporting residents (particularly those on low incomes) access the supplies and necessities they need

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Inspired Communities Fund

Get Living‘s Inspired Communities fund aims to support the local communities around the East Village by increasing community connections, improving health and wellbeing and engaging more people in the arts and cultural opportunities in the local area. Grants between £500 and £3,000 for projects and activities are available to local community groups and not-for-profit organisations supporting residents in E15, E20 and E9 postcodes.

If you have any questions, please contact the Grants Team atEast End Community Foundation Deadline: 12 noon on Monday 22 February 2021.

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Julie’s Bicycle

Julie’s Bicycle is accepting Expression of Interests from Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse individuals to join its free environmental knowledge and skills programme. Building on their climate justice podcast series ‘The Colour Green’, this 4-part digital workshop series aims to advance sustainable practice and co-create expertise at the intersection of culture and climate justice. More details on the programme and how to apply can be found below – deadline is 17 December.

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London Communities Coronavirus Appeal

The London Communities Coronavirus Appeal will mobilise essential funds to the Capital’s grassroots charities and community groups. The first phase of funds raised will provide emergency funding to charities and community groups supporting those people most vulnerable due to COVID19. The portal for applications should open by 30 March. They will publicise opening on and via Twitter @London_CF. You can also sign up to the newsletter on

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London Community Response

The next wave of the £10 million London Community Response fund is now open. Crisis grants of up to £10,000 are available to meet immediate community needs. Grants of up to £50,000 are available to help you change how you work to help meet community needs. The fund is open to most registered charities and community organisations, including those based in arts and culture. Check if you are eligible and apply on the London Community Response website.

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Mayor of London Culture at Risk Fund

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new emergency £2.3m fund to support culture and creative industries at risk due to the impact of the coronavirus. The Mayor is working with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and BFI to help venues and artists across the capital through the new Culture at Risk Business Support Fund. He will provide £450,000 to the Music Venue Trust to support up to 147 grassroots music venues and £225,000 to support up to 56 LGBTQ+ venues in partnership with the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum. There is £1.5m to the Creative Land Trust to support thousands of tenants across 200 artist studios workspaces and £150,000 to the BFI to help up to 25 of London’s treasured independent cinemas. Organisations set to benefit are those most at risk of falling into administration and unable to benefit from Government schemes. This will be supported by an investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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National Lottery Community Fund — Local Connections Fund

Small charities and community groups can now apply for funding of up to £2,500 through the Local Connections Fund to help tackle loneliness and isolation in their local areas. The Local Connections Fund is a new £4 million fund to help charities and community groups in England that are working to reduce loneliness by helping them build connections across their communities.

This will be used to fund hundreds of ‘microgrants’ between £300 and £2,500, so small, local organisations (with an annual income of £50,000 or less) can bring people and communities together. Round 1 closes on close on 26 January 2021. The second round of funding will launch in the summer of 2021. Application deadline 26 Jan.

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National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The £50m fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000.

Organisations which have received funding in the past or are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can apply.

Priority will be given where: there is limited or no access to other sources of support; where heritage is most at risk; where an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to COVID-19.

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Newham Heritage Month –Community Grant Scheme

Newham Heritage Month is launching a community grant scheme to fund projects up to £7,000 that research and create activities for audiences during Newham Heritage Month in May 2021. This year’s theme is Shops, Docks and Factories – Newham’s Urban Heritage. There will be surgeries for applicants through Zoom on 3 and 17 November at 11am-12.30pm. Email to book a space. Closing date for applications is 30 November 2020 at 5pm.

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PRS Foundation has launched Sustaining Creativity Fund to support artists, songwriters and composers to create and develop when they need it most. PRS will offer timely grant support of £750 to make a difference and will support outstanding talent in flexible ways.

Deadline 1 : Opens Mon 6th Apr. Deadline Mon 13th Apr, 6pm*. Decision Mon 27th Apr.

Deadline 2: Opens Mon 4th May. Deadline Mon 11th May, 6pm*. Decision Mon 25th May.

Songwriters and composer members of PRS for Music requiring emergency hardship funding should consider the PRS Emergency Relief Fund and all UK-based music creators are eligible for the Help Musicians UK Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund.

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Resourcing Racial Justice

The Resourcing Racial Justice fund is a coalition of people of colour (POC) innovators, change makers, activists, artists and social leaders dedicated to social change. Together, we have established a new UK wide-funding pool to support individuals and communities working towards racial justice. Deadline 15 June 2020.

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Royal Docks: Join the Docks

Groundwork on behalf of the Royal Docks Team, is inviting individuals and organisations based in the Royal Docks or Newham, or have a connection to the Royal Docks and its communities, to deliver exciting creative, cultural and leisure projects during the Join the Docks Autumn 2020 Programme (12 September 2020 – 15 December 2020).

Join the Docks is an annual arts and culture celebration that takes place across the 4km stretch of London’s historic Royal Docks. The programme is developed by Royal Docks Team, a partnership between the Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham. Last year Join the Docks worked with local partners and individuals to host over 150 creative and cultural events.

Funding available:

  • Small: £500 – £5,000
  • Medium: £5,000 – £14,000
  • Research and development commissions: £5,000 – £14,000

Deadline: 6pm on 23 August 2020

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Sport England

Sport England is offering a £195 million package to help sport and physical activity through coronavirus. The package includes a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which will be opened immediately for clubs and community organisations to bid into, offering grants between £300 and £10,000.

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START HERE Aberfeldy Street

START HERE Aberfeldy Street gives businesses or individuals the opportunity to start and trial their ideas on the high street. START HERE Aberfeldy Street is an initiative in Poplar, East London led by High Street Works, Meanwhile Space CIC and Jan Kattein Architects on behalf of EcoWorld London and Poplar HARCA. A number of retail units will be made available on a low risk basis; ideal for businesses and organisations looking for opportunities in their neighbourhood in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • 1 year free space
  • Business support
  • Start-up funding opportunities

Applications close on 17 July 2020. Successful applicants will be notified on w/c 20 July 2020.

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The National Lottery Community Fund

The Community Fund has launched a £200m fund for organisations in England. They will fund activities supporting people and communities affected by COVID-19. They can also help organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties they’re facing because of the pandemic. They are working with others to ensure this funding reaches communities as quickly as possible, including looking at extending our reach with social enterprises and community led community organisations and businesses. The fund is part of the Government’s £750m financial support package for charities and social enterprises announced by Government on April 8.

  • Organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations providing services and support for vulnerable people, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations that connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to COVID-19This

They will award funding between £300 to £10,000 or funding over £10,000 to cover your spending for up to six months after award.

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TV & Charity Relief Fund

Established with a £1m donation from Netflix, the new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund will be administered by The Film and TV Charity with support from the BFI. It will provide emergency short-term relief to the many thousands of active workers and freelancers who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK. The Film and TV Charity is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria. To be the first to hear when the fund launches, applicants should register for the charity’s mailing list. Those in immediate and urgent need should apply for support via The Film and TV Charity’s existing hardship fund, offering grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support. This hardship fund will sit alongside the new Film and TV COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Details on eligibility and how to apply.

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Various funding opportunities

Over 50 various funding opportunities including trusts, foundations, funders and social enterprise loands collated on a spreadsheet managed by London Borough of Waltham Forest Connecting Communities team, updated daily.

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Commission Opportunities

Culture in Quarantine

BBC Arts with Arts Council England, as part of an ongoing relationship, is launching a Culture in Quarantine fund for around 25 established England-based artists of any discipline to produce new works in creative media — video, audio and interactive. Commissions do not need to be about the current emergency, but they do need to adhere imaginatively and lawfully to the principles of self-isolation. Depending on their nature, each work will be hosted by the BBC online and/or on-air.

They will be inviting brief expressions of interest explaining your idea, how it could be made, and a ballpark budget by Wednesday 8 April. Ideas can be submitted by artists or by the organisations that represent them. Collaborations between artists of different disciplines are welcome. The online application form, terms and conditions, and FAQ’s will be live by end of the week. Please send an email with the subject line “Please update me” to and they will email you as soon as the guidance and application form are published.

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Disability Arts Online

DAO is offering £8,000 in new artist commissions open to disabled artists working in any art form based in the UK. There are three tiers of commissions: Artist Presentations, Day in the Life Articles, and Open Commissions. Deadline Mon 6 April. Please visit the website for further details.

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Artist Resources

Arts Council England

Covid-19: Support for organisations from Government and other sources.

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Arts Professional

Regular updates on projects and resources to support wellbeing, careers and creativity in the arts.

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Culture at Risk – Resources

The Culture at Risk team is working closely with organisations across London’s night-time economy and culture and creative industries. Below is a list of sector-specific information, advice and support schemes from across this network.

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Film & TV Charity

Mental Health Community is an online mental health platform, delivered by Big White Wall, free and accessible for anyone who works behind the scenes in our industry. This is a safe space, where you can express your thoughts and concerns openly and anonymously. As well as receiving support in group or one-to-one chats you can also access guided self-help courses that cover a range of subjects from managing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as problem-solving and assertiveness training. You can also access self-assessment tools and track your progress on the platform. You can seek the advice of both your peers in and out of the industry as well as professionally-trained Wall Guides who monitor and support the community. The platform is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Words of Colour Presents: A Creative Response to Covid-19

A programme of free professional development and creative wellbeing sessions for writers and creatives of colour. Led by members of the Words of Colour team, with contributions from our partners and associates, the sessions will be hosted on Zoom and IG Live, and run between 26 May and 15 August 2020, covering a range of topics such as Sustainable Design for Social Impact, Finance Clinic for Self Employed Creatives and Build Your Digital Presence . Please note —  tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. If your chosen session is full, please join the waiting list to be notified of any changes.

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Amy Zamarripa Solis

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