Events firms hit by lockdown to get £10,000 support grant

Beleaguered events companies hard hit by the coronavirus lockdown are to receive £10,000 in grant funding from the Scottish Government.

Events companies have had to put their businesses on hold during lockdown.
Events companies have had to put their businesses on hold during lockdown.

A total of £6 million is to be ringfenced for the sector, which has been unable to operate due to lockdown regulations since March.

The Events Industry Support Fund will distribute the one-off grant to support up to 600 businesses in the events industry, particularly those in the supply chain, which apply for help and which have not received Scottish Government sponsored Covid-19 related funding from other schemes.

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Organisers of conferences, exhibitions and large meetings, as well as those delivering cultural and sporting events will be eligible to apply for assistance from the fund, which was is part of a £10 million package of support for the events industry announced by the government last month.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “The events industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic as one of the first industries to stop and it will be one of the last to restart. There is a desperate need for support and this £6 million Scottish Government fund will help a number of businesses in the short term until we can start to run events again. 

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“This fund is designed to give a much needed cashflow support to those companies who have faced real hardship during lockdown. It is on a first come, first served approach, with only the first 600 applications being awarded funding, so I would urge those in the events supply chain to get their applications in as soon as possible.”

The fund is open to self-employed partnerships and incorporated businesses who can demonstrate that supply to, organisation of or delivery of or to events in Scotland represents their primary source of income. Companies must have earned a minimum of £10,000 from the supply to events in Scotland in the past year and must have a place of business in Scotland.

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Types of businesses expected to benefit from the fund include equipment and marquee hire companies, audio visual firms, catering companies and ticketing businesses, among others. Hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants which are not limited to event catering are not eligible for the grant, while artists and performers are also not eligible.

Many types of events business have not yet been able to reopen under lockdown rules, while those which can are operating with limited numbers and other changes in light of the pandemic.

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Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an easing of restriction to allow certain outdoor live events (involving open space or organised seating) with physical distancing and restricted numbers to open from yesterday, while indoor entertainment venues such as theatres and music venues could also be set to reopen as early as 14 September, though this does not include nightclubs.

Fiona Hyslop said: “We know the events sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and whilst we have set out indicative dates for a staged return of the industry, difficulties will continue for a long time to come.

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“This funding is the result of close collaboration with the sector to work out exactly what challenges they face and tailor our support to help them as best we can. Scotland has a track record of successfully planning and delivering events at international, national and local level and we will continue to work with the sector as we emerge from lockdown to ensure we remain the perfect stage.”

Applications for the fund - delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by VisitScotland and its EventScotland team, with development input from the newly formed Event Industry Advisory Group - will open from noon on 31 August and will run until noon on 14 September.