A Lifeline for Magic Me from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

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We are very pleased to announce that Arts Council England has awarded Magic Me a grant from the second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.  This will enable us to continue with our essential work in Tower Hamlets (and beyond) building stronger communities by bringing generations together and working with care homes at this critical time.

Since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020 our At Home Together Programme has worked with 28 partners and reached more than 450 people.  Older and younger generations have been brought together through exchange of art works, messages and collaborations on joint projects.  Many school pupils have struggled with being disconnected from their wider social groups during lockdowns and school closures, just as many older adults have been isolated by shielding, living in care homes, or, simply by fear or mingling with the general public.  

One of Magic Me’s older participants, who is living in sheltered housing, said: 

“Being able to talk to people has picked me up and kept me connected to the community.”

A staff member at Lansbury Lawrence primary school (partnered with Duncan Court as part of Magic Me’s Arts & Ages Programme) said:

“This situation has made the relationship a lot stronger, we are neighbours from the same community and when we do come together it will be a big celebration”

Magic Me’s work in the diverse communities of the East End (particularly in Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest) has never been more needed.  The high level of ethnic diversity, low income and dense housing in these areas has put more people at risk of the effects of the pandemic*.

Susan Langford our Director says:

“We know that creative activities and intergenerational connections have provided a lifeline to many of the people we work with, particularly older people isolated at home and those living in care homes. We welcome the lifeline the Government is providing to Magic Me, and many other arts and heritage organisations, through the Culture Recovery Fund.”

We are thrilled to be part of the #HereforCulture movement.  It is something that unites the public, government and cultural organisations in support of the whole cultural sector including cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage as well as arts organisations, like Magic Me, who are working directly with the public.

Magic Me is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.  More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.  

We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

About the Arts Council and the Culture Recovery Fund

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19.

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund would be boosted with a further £300 million investment. Details of this third round of funding will be announced soon. 

*About the Local Government Association toolkit on loneliness and social isolation 

The Local Government Association has identified that because of the Covid 19 Pandemic many people are at an increased risk of loneliness and isolation. Whilst the largest number of people experiencing loneliness is older people, young people are most likely to report feeling lonely.  When people feel they belong less strongly to their neighbourhood or have little trust of others in their local area they are more likely to report feeling lonely.  Living alone has a particular impact on older people and social distancing measures, shielding, self-isolation has exacerbated this. 

Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic communities and individuals have been disproportionately affected by the virus in terms of mortality and it is likely that this will have an impact on trauma,  loneliness and need for support.