I AM writing in response to the Agenda piece by Peter F Scott, “Will Covid sound the death knell for small music venues?” (September 15) and would like to make a few points in response.

Firstly, the article states that “Scottish Government support for the performing arts is, supposedly, evidenced by the £12.5 million Performance Venue Fund given to Creative Scotland…without meaningfully detailed criteria for grant, no awards have actually been made.” This is wrong.

The Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund has already allocated, and announced, £7.5 million to 20 venues across Scotland and we are currently assessing applications for the remaining £5 million, with decisions to be announced next week.

In addition to this, a £2.2 million fund to support Grassroots Music Venues who have been impacted by Covid-19 was also made available last month and applications to this fund are now being assessed, with decisions also to be announced next week.

All criteria for accessing both funds are openly available on our website.

Secondly, on August 28 the First Minister announced £59 million of emergency funding for culture and heritage to address the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including a further £31.5 million for culture through Creative Scotland.

This money is being made available through a range of funds to support different parts of Scotland’s culture sector, namely, a £3.5 million Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund; a £15 million Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund; £5 million Creative Freelancer Hardship Funds; a £5 million Sustaining Creative Practice Fund; and a £3 million fund for Youth Arts.

The detailed criteria for all funds are published on our website and promoted extensively through our communications channels. Currently, it is Creative Scotland’s top priority to ensure this support reaches as many people and organisations working in Scotland’s culture sector as possible with the aim of protecting jobs and removing the threat of insolvency.

Finally, I want to be clear that we fully appreciate the stressful situation that everyone working in Scotland’s culture sector, including smaller live music venues, is having to deal with due to the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Every effort is being made to lessen the impacts of Covid-19 as much as possible and to deliver emergency support within the resources available to us.

However, the distressing reality is that the scale and severity of the challenges are so great that it is clear that, even with the very welcome emergency funding being offered, the survival of every cultural organisation and every job cannot be assured and the pandemic will, inevitably, have an impact that none of us would wish.

Kenneth Fowler

Director, Communications,

Creative Scotland, Edinburgh.