Grassroots music venues across England will now be able to apply for special funding from a ring-fenced budget intended to support the sector and help stem their decline.
Arts Council England has announced it has set aside £1.5 million of National Lottery money to fund projects hosting and promoting live music in grassroots venues.
It comes amid an ongoing campaign to protect small venues following a period of decline across the UK.
Opening next week, the scheme will accept applications for between £1,000 and £40,000 from music venues and promoters.
The funding will sit within the Arts Council’s project grants programme, but by having a separate budget for grassroots music venues, ACE said it wanted to encourage applications by reducing the high level of competition faced when applying for the main project grants scheme.
Arts Council chief executive Darren Henley said: “Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country, and there needs to be a collective effort from both the public sector and music industry to support them.”
Other organisations such as the Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union are working alongside the Arts Council on a number of coordinated initiatives to make up a “sector-wide approach” to supporting venues.
The MVT will be assisting venues in accessing this new funding, and work to ensure that tangible improvements are made for both audiences and artists.
Last year, London mayor Sadiq Khan created a £1 million fund for grassroots arts projects as part of a commitment to support culture in communities across the capital.