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City Corporation to launch new Covid-19 Recovery Grant Scheme for Square Mile SMEs

COVID-19 resources for tourism, arts and culture

Date updated: 10/29/2021

The City of London Corporation recognises this is a difficult time for those in the tourism, arts, culture and creative sectors. We have compiled a list of external resources, guidance and funding opportunities below that we hope you find useful.

​You can read all the Government's announcements about support for businesses and workers here. These measures include the recently-announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs, Self-employment Income Support Scheme and £750m funding for frontline charities.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – guidance, advice and policy updates affecting the cultural and creative sectors.

Government Guidance for retail, hospitality and leisure including business rates holiday, loans and grants, job retention, self-employed income support and sick pay rebates.

Here to Help London is a collaborative partnership service to benefit London's community and COVID-19 key workers. Determined by the London community, Here to Help London support services to adapt as demand and as government advice changes - from food delivery to online courses, virtual debates or just someone to talk to. Find more information via Here to Help London website.

VAT - reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions: the government made an announcement on 8 July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotels/holiday accommodation and attractions. The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2021. 


VisitEngland’s ‘We're Good to Go’ Industry Standard is now freely available. You can apply for the free UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to reassure your customers that your business adheres to Government and public health guidance.

Greater London Authority (GLA) supports London Growth Hub who are offering one-to-one sessions with business advisors and are running a survey to understand business needs in order to develop support schemes.

London and Partners have published guidance in their main areas, leisure tourism advice for visitors, business information and guidance and meetings and events to support event planners, hotels and venues. These pages are updated as more advice and guidance becomes available.

Rubber Cheese have created a resource list aimed at visitor attractions and the travel industry.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland have created a dedicated Covid-19 response webpage. This page contains tourism sector-specific Government advice and support for businesses, updates affecting the tourism industry and VisitBritain’s own marketing response and advice for visitors and travellers. There is also a specific Business Advice page for the sector. These pages are updated as more advice and guidance becomes available.

Visit Greenwich have developed a marketing and business support toolkit (PDF) for how and what to communicate during the lockdown.

a-n (The Artists Information Company) has produced a COVID-19 guidance document for artists and cultural institutions. The Covid-19 a-n survey headlines also show the initial findings from the a-n Coronavirus Covid-19 Survey, designed to understand the impact on artists and arts managers and the support they need.

Arts & Health Hub has created a slack channel for its members to reach out to each other for support and advice.

ArtsAdmin are offering digital advisory sessions via Skype to UK-based artists working in contemporary performance, at any stage of their career.

Arts Council England - find the latest advice, guidance and emergency funding measures they have put in place to address the Covid-19/Coronavirus crisis. Information for organisations and individuals is being regularly updated.

Arts Professional have created CovidCulture – a space for news and information relating to the coronavirus pandemic, and how it might affect working in the arts.

Calouste Gulbeknian Foundation and King’s College London report on Creativity, Culture and Connection: Responses from arts and culture organisations in the COVID-19 crisis.

Charity Comms have a ‘Crisis Communications for Charities’ best practice guide – it explores what a successful crisis comms response looks like.

The Charity Commission has set out guidance to help with the running of charities at this time.

Creative Industries Federation are offering free Federation membership for six months and have built a resources hub with useful information on skills, financial support and mental wellbeing.

The Culture Diary is a live document produced by Brunswick Arts which informs people across the sector of event cancellations and building closures.

The Digital Culture Network has created resources to help you and your organisation respond to the current crisis and enhance your organisation's digital offering. Resources include how to make films on a smartphone, creating podcasts and webinars on Google Analytics.

GEM: Group for Education in Museums has produced COVID-19 Guidance for Educators.

Greater London Authority has updated their Culture at Risk site. The page includes an online form that allows individuals and organisations to register with the programme and access their case management system. On the site there is also a link to the Culture at Risk Resources which they will be regularly updating.

GLA Resources and Checklist – Managing Events during Covid-19: if you’re planning an event for later this year, the GLA have brought together the latest guidance on how to plan for and safely run an event.

Hannah Hethmon from Better Lemon Creative Audio has created a ‘How To’ guide on quick DIY podcasting for Museums & Non-profits closed by COVID19

Help Musicians has launched a new website to act as a central source of support and advice for all musicians during the coronavirus period.

Independent Cinema Office have a list of funds and resources for cinemas, film festivals and venues with a film programme.

Libraries Connected is running a basecamp, which allows library workers to share ideas for how they can support the mental wellbeing of communities during this difficult time.

Manchester International Festival (MIF) have a list of resources for artists and freelance creatives, including MIF Drop In, a free forum for advice and support. 

Morris Hargreaves McIntyre have an online space for the global cultural sector so it can begin to strategise next steps.

Outdoor Events Guidance: the government has published a document to help employers, employees, volunteers and the self-employed in the outdoor event industry in England. The guidance will help organisers understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping as many people as possible socially distanced from outside of their household or support bubble, in line with the latest government regulations. 

The Museums Association is providing advice to the sector and will continue to update the contents as the situation develops.

The Social Distancing Festival is listing art and culture from all over the world.

Spektrix have launched a free Ticket Converter tool designed to make it easier for audiences to donate or accept refunds as credit. This is available to all cultural organisations regardless of the ticketing system they use.

Tangled Feet is offering advice and support for individuals and organisations across the sector. outlines 20 charities coming together to support those who work in theatres.

Unlimited: Resources for disabled artists and freelancers in response to COVID-19.

VocalEyes have shared a Twitter thread on ways to ensure your digital content is accessible as possible – including image description and capitalised hashtags.

Voluntary Arts Network is hosting a daily online gathering at #CreativeNetwork, available to anyone who would like to talk to others involved in arts, culture and creativity.

​City of London Corporation - Central Grants Programme
Find out about the kind of projects we might fund and whether you might be eligible to apply, read the eligibility criteria carefully, and choose the one which best matches your project or funding needs.

Pay It Forward London - Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has partnered with Crowdfunder to launch #PayItForward London. It’s a new scheme to help small businesses through this testing time. It allows them to set-up a crowdfunding scheme so that customers can pre-pay for vouchers, goods and services, easing cashflow issues by generating advanced sales. Over 700 businesses across the country  have collectively raised over £1.5 million already with the help of over 32,000 supporters who have paid it forward.

Amplify London - London Music Fund's newest programme, launched in February 2020, in collaboration with YouTube Music and Sound Connections. It supports grassroots organisations that are providing musical activities for young people in London, by funding specific local projects and helping the organisations to forge links with the music industry and the music education sector. The second round of applications is now open, deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 26 February 2021.

Arts Council, Developing your Creative Practice: Round 9 of this ACE programme is open. 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. Current round of applications closes at 12pm (midday), on 18 February 2021.

Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants are available to apply for between July 2020 - April 2021, with an emphasis on helping fund independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible. 

BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine - New Commissioning Strand to Support Disabled Artists - To mark the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, BBC Arts, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland have launched a new Culture in Quarantine commissioning round to celebrate the work of disabled, D/deaf and neurodiverse artists. This opportunity is now closed however, further Space commissioning opportunities are hoped to be announced in Spring of 2021.

Civic Futures: A fellowship programme to bring leaders across London’s civil society and local government to facilitate collective learning and discovery focused on collaboration, exploration and inquiry and systems thinking to support London’s recovery. The deadline for nominations is Thursday 18th February, and the deadline for applications is Tuesday 23rd February.

Civil Society Roots Incubator: A new programme to develop collaborations and/or partnerships led by and for groups who have been dis-proportionally affected by COVID-19 and the structural drivers of this disproportionate impact. Deadline Extended to 5pm Tuesday 23 February 2021.

Community-Led Recovery Programme: Two grant streams for social action projects which gather new insights and support for organisations with existing projects which capture Londoner’s experience of COVID-19. Application deadline is 12pm Friday 19 February 2021.

Community Spaces at Risk Fund: A fund of £750,000 to work with communities to protect grassroots cultural centres, social clubs, youth, education and other spaces that are locally rooted and critical for supporting vulnerable groups during the pandemic. The renewal grants are open from 14th January until 15th February. 

Crowdfunder has partnered with the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England to spotlight a different sector of the creative industries each week to raise funds and offer advance sale of services.

Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas: Grants from the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England will enable non-profit and independent cinemas to open with safety measures in place protecting employees and audiences. They will also support independent cinemas on reopening as social distancing measures will restrict admissions for performances and takings. Open for applications until midday on 1 February 2021.

Heritage Recovery and Resilience Loans: Designed to help fund activities and costs that will develop and restart your organisation’s income generating potential.

This funding is well suited to organisations who have already been working on resilience, and are currently operating with a mixed income model of enterprise and grant funding, who require support to meet operating costs or adjust their operating model as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Loans of £50,000 to £250,000
  • fixed 0% interest rate
  • no fees for arrangement or early repayment
  • optional 12-month repayment holiday
  • repayment period is up to 5 years
  • applications open until 14 February 2021

Institute of Fundraising has published Information for Fundraisers about Coronavirus and Coronavirus: Advice for Corporate Fundraisers.

Keda Fundraising has published COVID-19 Pandemic - What does it mean for your fundraising?

London Community Response Fund: has offered five waves of funding, with 'crisis, enable and adapt' grants available. Currently they are not open for new applications however, keep an eye on their website or sign up to their newsletter for more information on future funding.

London Funders has announced a new emergency support fund to help community and voluntary organisations. Both the Greater London Authority and the City Bridge Trust have contributed £1m each to launch the fund.

The Mayor’s Resilience Fund: Applications open in February 2021 to innovators for co-creation sessions with resilience partners. 

  • Build digital and data tools to help London emerge from the current crisis, and fare better during future stresses and shocks.
  • Help small businesses and community organisations to adapt and diversify.
  • Create positive social change that addresses London’s major stresses – from inequality to food insecurity and poor health and wellbeing.

Covid business recovery fund: A new Covid Business Recovery Fund of up to £50 million has been launched by the City of London Corporation. The fund will support SME businesses which contribute to the Square Mile’s vibrancy at street level and directly provide services to returning City workers, visitors and residents. It aims to support those businesses that can evidence, through the grant application process, a likelihood that with support they have a reasonable chance to survive beyond the short-term.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they provide an in-person service to the general public in either the retail, hospitality, medical or leisure sectors.

Other requirements will include that the business:

  • has had its trading premises in the City of London since at least 20 March 2020 with businesses that have signed leases prior to this date being eligible;
  • has taken steps to reduce its costs as far as practical and has taken up all available grants/loans;
  • has actively engaged with its landlord and agreed a rent-free period or a reduction in rent;
  • and pays the Living Wage.

Grants will be based on individual requirements after a financial evaluation but will not exceed £100,000 per business. Applications will be accepted between 12 April and 11 June 2021. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. If the level of grants awarded exceeds the allocated funding, then the scheme will be closed with immediate effect. The City Business Library will provide support to any applicants unsure how to use the portal. Find out more and apply.

The High Streets Task Force has announced that they will provide access to tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June. This is as part of new support for reopening and recovery of high streets.

The City of London Corporation has compiled a range of resources available to SMEs as well as advice on mental wellbeing.

FSB has collated advice, guidance and free webinars for small businesses and the self-employed.

Pay It Forward London - Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has partnered with Crowdfunder to launch #PayItForward London. It’s a new scheme to help small businesses through this testing time. It allows them to set-up a crowdfunding scheme so that customers can pre-pay for vouchers, goods and services, easing cashflow issues by generating advanced sales. Over 700 businesses across the country  have collectively raised over £1.5 million already with the help of over 32,000 supporters who have paid it forward.

£20 million fund to support SMEs in England -The Government has announced a £20 million fund to support the recovery of small and medium-sized businesses in England. Businesses will be eligible to receive grants between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access technology, equipment or professional advice as they plan for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The support will be fully funded from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs embedded in local areas across England. All grants must be awarded by 28 February 2021 and all activity fully completed by 31 March 2021.

​The Audience Agency has published the Digital Culture Compass, a new, free online toolkit to support arts, culture and heritage organisations to integrate digital technology into their work.

Charity Digital has provided an online hub for all relevant content and guidance.

Digital Boost platform launch - Supported by DCMS, a new platform called Digital Boost has launched. The platform will host a community of digital experts, who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses free of charge.

The Digital Culture Network - established by Arts Council England - provides one-to-one support from ACE's team of digital specialists for the arts & cultural sector. Email to speak to a Tech Champion or follow the Digital Culture Network’s Twitter account to find out more.

TEA has launched TEA Digital to keep attractions industry connected throughout COVID-19 outbreak

We recognise that self-care is different for every single person. Here are links to some useful resources that can support your physical and mental health in different ways, any time you need them.

The Blurt Foundation is a peer to peer resource and support website for those who have, and are, struggling with their mental health, aiming to challenge the stigma around mental illness.

Dragon Café in the City is now being offered as a virtual experience until Shoe Lane Library reopens to the public. Follow Dragon Cafe on Twitter for upcoming virtual events and visit the website for resources, hints and tips for wellbeing.

Good Thinking offers advice for parents and carers and for anyone struggling with isolation during this period. It also promotes proactive self-care for the four most common mental health conditions: anxiety, low mood, sleeping difficulties and stress, and offers a self-assessment tool that provides personalised recommendations.

NHS provides 10 practical tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus.

Thrive LDN is a citywide movement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners, supported by the Mayor of London and led by the London Health Board partners. Two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year and Londoners’ life satisfaction and feelings of self-worth are lower than the national average. Thrive LDN was established in response to this, with the aim of reducing the number of Londoners affected by poor mental health. Find out more and access Thrive LDN's resources.