Arts, culture and sports sectors to get more support grants and measures: Edwin Tong

·4-min read
Climb Central at Kallang Wave Wall.
Climb Central at Kallang Wave Wall. (FILE PHOTO: Singapore Sports Hub)

SINGAPORE — The arts, culture and sports sectors in Singapore is set to have additional support measures and operating grants in the coming months.

Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, announced in Parliament on Thursday (15 October) support measures for these sectors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that will supplement existing ones previously announced by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).

“It will take more than just financial assistance to sustain these sectors. People must be able to see, and appreciate, the intrinsic value which our arts, culture, and sporting talents can bring to our community,” he said.

“To position our sectors for the long-term, MCCY will provide immediate assistance to critical players in our sectors with special talents. If we lose them, it would set back our efforts in the arts and sports to achieve a stronger Singapore society.”

Additional $25 million in new measures for sports sector

For the sports sector, MCCY will roll out an additional $25 million for new and enhanced measures. This comes after a $25 million package for existing measures announced in June for a combined $50 million Sports Resilience Package (SRP).

The existing measures provided immediate COVID-19 relief in terms of temporary jobs, training opportunities and rent waivers. It also ensured business continuity through a series of initiatives such as the Active Enabler Programme, Enterprise Innovation and Capability Development Grant and the ActiveSG Circle and Digital Content Development.

For the supplementary package for new and enhanced measures, $13.5 million will be used to provide operating grants to key businesses critical to the sport ecosystem in Singapore.

MCCY will provide a grant the equivalent of about 25 per cent of their total operating expenses, capped at $15,000 per month, from October to March next year. It will help offset businesses’ operating costs to ensure that these businesses can continue operating while exploring and pivoting to new business models.

To be eligible for the grant, businesses must demonstrate that they have been working closely with national sports associations (NSAs) to contribute to athlete pipeline development, and/or is a key player in this ecosystem. In addition, the business must show that their revenues have been and will continue to be severely affected by COVID-19.

Another $11.5 million will be used for capability development in the sports sector.

This will include an expanded blended initiative, with private sports academies and clubs added to the list of companies eligible for support. Together with eligible event organisers and events management companies, the initiative seeks to develop hybrid programmes – with both virtual and physical participations – that enable more Singaporeans to participate in sports.

Through this expansion, MCCY is targeting to support more than 100 projects, involving around 450,000 participants, over the next six months.

Support will also be provided to businesses and providers to grow digital capabilities in areas like content development, to help strengthen their business models. Coaches can also receive a training allowance of $10 per hour to take up CoachSG courses, with higher-lever coaches able to participate in CoachSG’s structured mentorship programme.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. (FILE PHOTO: National Heritage Board)

One-off operating grant for arts and culture sectors

For arts and culture sectors, eligible organisations will receive a one-off operating grant of either $50,000 or $75,000, depending on their organisation size. This grant will enable them to continue to generate work opportunities for the freelancers they typically engage.

It comes after a $55 million Arts and Culture Resilience Package in April, which has provided over 10,000 work and training opportunities for arts and culture practitioners, and supported close to 1,200 digitalisation projects and programmes by local artists and organisations.

This one-off grant is expected to benefit over 300 organisations. More information on the one-off grant will be made available on the the National Arts Council (NAC) website in end-October, and eligible organisations will be engaged directly.

MCCY and NAC are also working proactively with the Ministry of Health on safe management measures to allow live performances to resume as soon as feasible, after small-scale live performances were piloted at selected arts venues since 11 September.

The ministry and the council will also work with arts freelancers to help them tap on available support, identify and facilitate work opportunities, skills upgrading, and leverage digital technology.

“There is a certain messiness in the way in which sports and arts practitioners are organised, that keep the sectors fresh, innovative, and maintain some of that carefree entrepreneurial spirit,” Tong said.

“But COVID-19 has thrown into sharp focus the importance of organising dedicated framework for these stakeholders and supporting their efforts to organise themselves. We have reached out to many freelancers, and will continue to do so.”

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