The Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft has been awarded £63,000 from central Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help us weather the economic storms of Covid and the havoc that has been unleashed.

The PRSC is one of 588 organisations across the country getting this support, and along with the first round from the Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund, this will enable us to keep many of our core activities going in some form, and work on how we adapt our other offerings to work better online.

We’ve been developing our online presence in various ways, ensuring our weekly newsletter both better represents us and the work we do, and celebrates the diverse creative and political community we are a part of. We’ve hired a retail manager (welcome Dan!), re-worked our online shop, and are excited that the Winter Edition of the People’s Art Fair is available in its entirety to view and buy online, as well as hanging in our Space. We’ve lots to look forward to in the new year, with an expanded system of membership offering community access to our resources and equipment, and plans for improving our building and facilities. During lockdown we’ve also been able to continue offering our Street Survival drop-in sessions for the local homeless community, distributing DOPE magazine to put some cash in the pockets of homeless vendors, and even help set up and run the Stokes Croft Food Project, ensuring that hungry people from all backgrounds can enjoy hot meals (from the kitchens of Jamaica Street Stores) every day.

The Culture Recovery Fund grants programme is being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and they have asked that we include these messages from them:

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

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

“Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis. We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Benoit Bennett of the PRSC, said:

“It’s great that we’ve been allocated some of the Culture Recovery Fund – it will allow us to keep offering cultural activities to the local community, and expand our reach to wider audiences via the internet. We’re painfully aware that we are one of the lucky ones though, with many venues, cultural organisations and individuals struggling to see a future on the other side of this. Suggesting musicians, comedians, artists etc. re-train because of a pandemic undermines the purported purpose of resilience funds, and almost none of this reaches individuals that aren’t part of a bigger organisation. Culture is quite literally the UK’s greatest asset, and we mustn’t let it starve. Please find ways to support your local independent creators!

We can’t wait to invite our friends back in, and bring people back together to enjoy exhibitions, music, other performances and collective culture in person, as it should be done.”