Following MP Bob Seely’s successful lobby for Arts Council England to name the Island as a priority investment area, Isle of Wight arts organisations have now received thousands of pounds from a new COVID-19 emergency response fund designed to help alleviate the immediate pressures faced by artists, creative practitioners, museums, and libraries over the summer.


MP Bob Seely has welcomed a total of £183,956 from the Arts Council to National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) recipients as part of its Emergency Response Fund (ERF). 


He said: “I welcome this funding for Island groups and individuals, and I thank Arts Council England for offering them support at this time.


“We need to keep our arts organisations on the Island going. The arts can help to enrich life, raise aspirations and education, support job creation and boost the tourism economy.


“First, we need to first get through this crisis. Second, we need to look to make our Island one of Britain’s leading cultural destinations. Following the period of lockdown, I am sure that Islanders will be looking to the arts to provide recreation, education, inspiration and entertainment. This money will help ensure that the Island’s vibrant arts scene is there to meet the demand for art and culture.”


These grants were made prior to the announcement of, and are separate to, the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.


Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England, South West, said:


“We’re proud to have turned this emergency funding programme around in such a short space of time, with the help from our partners in Government and from our team members working in their home offices. Arts Council has been able to award these grants at a critical time, to so many brilliant artists, creative practitioners and cultural organisations who suddenly found themselves in a difficult position due to Covid-19.


"The creative and cultural sector helps to generate the local economy, provides jobs, improves people’s wellbeing and helps us to make sense of the world. And like so many other sectors, it has never faced a challenge of this scale which is why we are pleased that this funding will not just keep the lights on but will also connect many people at this challenging time.”