ALMOST £1 million has been donated to arts and culture organisations across Hampshire, to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The Arts Council have donated more than £8.5 million to organisations across the South West, with a total of £983,700 being granted across Hampshire, as part of its emergency response package that was set up in March to help support the arts and culture sector during the Covid-19 crisis.

Four cultural organisations from Southampton have benefited from the scheme - Cultural Media Enterprise Limited, In Focus LTD, SoCo Music Project and The Kala Chethena Kathakali Troupe - with a combined grant of more than £130,000.

Phil Gibby, Area Director of Arts Council England for the South West, has said that the arts industry has "never faced a challenge of this scale" before, which is why the Arts Council is "so proud" to be able to help.

He 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 to make this funding announcement today, in the knowledge that this funding will not just keep the lights on but will also connect many people at this challenging time.”

The funding given out on Tuesday June 16 was awarded to a total of 873 individuals and 302 independent organisations across the South West, with the aim to help alleviate immediate pressures faced by artists, creative practitioners, arts organisations, museums and libraries in the wake of the coronavirus, by supporting them as they continue to serve their communities during the crisis and affording them time to plan for the future.