Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has established a Culture, Arts & Heritage Recovery Taskforce to consider measures to support re–opening and recovery in the short–term as they emerge from the pandemic and to pave the way for a longer term strategy for the culture, arts and heritage sectors.

Speaking after her first meeting with the Taskforce’s chair, the Minister said:

“The Executive made some important decisions last week that will be very much welcomed by those who make their living through culture, arts and heritage; those who volunteer and devote their spare time and energy in community and amateur activity and by the rest of us, whose quality of life is enhanced by the work the others do.

“There are important steps in the pipeline that start to allow cultural activity to restart in person and allow many of our venues to plan for re–opening to the public. And while we must celebrate that, we also have to recognise that there will still need to be restrictions in place that mean support beyond the additional £38m allocated last year will be required to encourage the return to activity and to support those individuals and organisations who will continue to face challenges for some time yet.”

The Minister continued:

“The people in these sectors make a substantial contribution to our local economy, quality of life, health and wellbeing, in the shaping of our standing as a place to live, work and visit.  They offer the potential to alleviate the isolation and mental health crisis facing us, to help us all interpret and absorb the implications of the pandemic, and to deliver immediate and longer term outcomes for our people, our economy and our future.

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