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

Support and opportunities for the City’s arts, heritage and tourism sectors

Date updated: 1/05/2021

The City Corporation offers SMEs working in the arts, heritage and tourism sectors of the City and City Fringe the following advice, support and networking opportunities:

City Culture Network (CCN)

The City Culture Network comprises SME arts and culture providers, as well as individual artists and creative practitioners, working in the Square Mile or City Fringe. The group receives weekly bulletins, highlighting local and national opportunities across the City and wider sector and meets* on a quarterly basis at local venues to hear from a range of guest speakers, as well as share news and updates, and network with other members. Professionals at all stages of their career are welcome to join the group. Membership is free and offers a great way to connect with other cultural exponents from the area as well as stay up to date with relevant sector and City developments.

City Hotels, Attractions and Retail Network (CHARN)

CHARN is more tourism focussed than the City Culture Network, providing a forum through which the City’s hotels, attractions, retail and hospitality providers share insights and opportunities across the City’s visitor offer and updates about the development of the City as a tourist destination. Members receive weekly bulletins and meet* on a quarterly basis at venues across the Square Mile. Membership is free and relevant organisations are welcome to join, noting that the City’s retail and hospitality sectors (excepting individual hotels) are primarily represented by collectives such as the City’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and its business partnerships.

Please note that all on-site CHARN and CCN meetings are suspended until further notice.

City Hotels Database

The City Corporation also manages a database of hotels across the Square Mile. Those hotels that have opted in to receive updates, are notified on an ad-hoc basis about relevant information and developments regarding the City’s tourism and hospitality offers.

Please contact the Tourism Team if you would like to join the CCN, CHARN or the City Hotels Database.

Promoting your programmes and activities

The City Corporation also seeks to promote the City as a leading cultural and visitor destination via the City Information Centre, Our City Together and Visit the City, as well as its @VisittheCity social media channels across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you are planning any relevant activities in the Square Mile and would like to have these promoted through our channels, please contact the Tourism Team to explore options. Please note, the City Corporation is not able to support all requests of this nature and will base any decision on the relevance of activities to the communities it serves.

Inspiring London Through Culture Grants Programme

The City Corporation is one of the UK’s major funders of culture and heritage and directly supports a range of institutions and activities in these fields. It also recognises and welcomes the wide range of organisations, large and small, who further enrich the Square Mile’s cultural offer and who may benefit from additional support or sponsorship to help initiatives to develop. Grants from £500 to £10,000 are available from the Inspiring London Through Culture theme of its Central Grants Programme across two rounds in each year. In exceptional circumstances applications for £15,000 will also be considered. 

Community Infrastructure Levy Neighbourhood Fund

A new Neighbourhood Fund, financed from the Community Infrastructure Levy, was established by the City Corporation on 1 September 2020. The fund supports facilities and programmes that deliver direct benefit to the City’s communities across a wide range of services and disciplines including culture. The minimum value for applications for funding is £1,000, with those under £50,000 processed by a panel of officers. Applications for over £50,000 will be considered by the City Corporation’s Resource Allocation Sub-Committee. 

Facilitating public art in the Square Mile

The City of London is home to an extensive range of artwork, from statues and memorials of great historic significance to contemporary pieces by some of the world's most renowned artists.

As part of our commitment to improving and enlivening the City's streetscape, we welcome applications to place high quality artwork on the City's streets via the City Arts Initiative.

Sculpture of a rhino with zebra stripes outside Guildhall
Public art in the City - the Tusk Trust Great Rhino Trail © Tim Whitby

External guidance and support

We recognise this is a difficult time for the tourism, arts, culture and creative sectors and have compiled a list of external resources, guidance and funding opportunities which we hope you find useful.