Award-winning Birmingham-based Services For Education, whose continuing work with Birmingham schools during the pandemic has been widely applauded, has been awarded £250,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.
The charity, which in normal times teaches music to some 38,000 school children each week, is amongst the first to receive funds in the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. It is one of the 28 cultural and creative organisations based in Birmingham and one of 1,385 across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today (12 October) with further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector being announced over the coming weeks.
Sharon Bell, Chief Executive of Services For Education, said: “The award of the grant, in a highly competitive environment, is a huge endorsement of the work that our team delivered – and continue to deliver – during lockdown. We are delighted to have secured this additional funding from the Arts Council that will help us continue our invaluable work – using music to support vulnerable children and young people across Birmingham.”
Services For Education employs more than 200 people in the city and uses the power of learning and music to create and build confidence in local children, young people, adults and communities. During the pandemic it embarked on a major programme of on-line tuition and concerts – including the first ever Virtual Youth Proms Festival that included streaming live 30 new performances created during lockdown over four evenings and involving 500 young people. More recently, it has resumed music lessons in Birmingham schools whilst continuing its on-line support for both schools and individual school children.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.
“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”
Sharon Bell added: “We are delighted that we have been successful in our application for a grant under the Arts Council Recovery Fund. We are enormously grateful to the Arts Council for supporting us for enabling us to continue to do what we love doing – which is bringing music and music teaching to the children of Birmingham. We are now able to look forward to continuing our work with our schools and other cultural education partners across the city over the weeks and months ahead and keeping music alive at a time which we all know is really difficult for the sector.”