Arts Council announces £2.7 million recovery funding to support individuals in the Creative Economy

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, on behalf of Department for Communities (DfC), has today (Friday 3 December) announced details of £2,711,816 of recovery funding for 1,433 individuals working in the Creative Economy across Northern Ireland.

The Creative Individuals Recovery Programme (CIRP), was designed by the Department for Communities and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and was launched by Minister Hargey in September. The programme offers grants of up to £2,000 each to help creative individuals to undertake activity linked to their practice or art form.

The objective of the programme is to help artists and individuals deal with the costs involved in maintaining and enhancing their creative trade, vocation or profession. The strategic aim however, is to prevent NI talent from leaving the creative economy, and instead, encourage individuals to stay and grow their practice while contributing to the health of our social and economic eco-system.

The CIRP fund supports one-off costs associated with their arts practice, and funding to build their professional and technical skills, particularly as so many have been negatively impacted as a result of lockdown and the pandemic restrictions.

Recent research from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland* (*New report highlights impact of Covid pandemic on arts sector | Arts Council of Northern Ireland ( shows evidence that the creative sector in NI relies heavily on self-employed and freelance individuals, and that many have already left the sector because of the pandemic. Evidence showed that for those remaining, they face unaffordable costs associated with re-establishing or developing their creative practice.

Roísín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Arts Council is today offering 1,433 awards to creative individuals across Northern Ireland totalling £2,711,816. Today’s announcement is welcome news, and we thank the Minister for making this funding available. The Minister’s funding initiative was designed to help individuals to continue with a creative career in Northern Ireland, to carry on developing important skills, many of which have taken years to develop.

“Indeed research demonstrates there is currently a significant risk that the talent pool of artists and creatives we need in Northern Ireland to support our creative ecosystem, will disappear as individuals leave to find alternative work. That would take NI years to recover from, as these freelancers, artists and individuals are essential to the success of our creative industries.

“CIRP funding will help our creative individuals to positively contribute, as they did before the pandemic, to the significant cultural value of Northern Ireland as a great place to work, live and invest.”

Minister, Deirdre Hargey, Department for Communities, said,

“I am delighted that my Department, through the Arts Council, will be awarding grants to 1,433 individuals to help encourage them to remain within the creative sector here.

“This sector has been seriously impacted by Covid restrictions as it relies heavily on people’s ability to get together. We cannot afford to lose our creative talent and it is vital that we safeguard the sector for the future.”

Read more on this story, and the individuals offered funding, at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland website below.

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.