The Scottish Government has announced new funding of £13m to provide further support for the events sector in Scotland, much of which has been unable to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the £13m, £6m has been committed to a new fund, The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund which was made available this week. This new package is in addition to the £10m events fund package announced in July this year.

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will provide grants from £25,000 up to a maximum of £150,000 to support approximately 50 to 100 event businesses whose primary role as organisers, suppliers, contractors and venues is critical to the survival of the events sector in Scotland, and upon whom the wider events industry and supply chain are most reliant for their own business and operations. Organisations applying to the fund must meet the eligibility criteria including having an annual turnover in excess of £500k prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the fund is intended to support those pivotal businesses who operate at a size and scale in their sector and/or location where the loss or insolvency of that business would have a significant and detrimental impact on Scotland’s ability to continue to host and stage major events.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop in an official statement to VisitScotland  said: “We were able to provide financial support for the events sector in the autumn, but we have continued to listen and we acknowledge that further funding is required. This additional £13m will allow us to help hard-pressed businesses going forward and ensure that they are ready to support the recovery when it is safe to operate again.” “While the arrival of a vaccine offers grounds for hope, the events sector and its wider supply chain will continue to experience difficulties for some time to come,” she said.

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will be administered by VisitScotland, with eligible organisations first asked to complete an Expression of Interest form to demonstrate they meet the eligibility criteria. The registration link was set live at 12pm on 16 December and will be open for one week until 5pm on 22 December with full details of the process and requirements available on the VisitScotland website.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, VisitScotland in a statement to VisitScotland said: “Scotland’s events industry continues to be severely impacted by the ongoing effects of COVID-19. The £6 million Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will provide vital funding to businesses critical to our industry’s survival, and without whom our capacity to deliver major events would be significantly reduced.

“Events play a key role in our communities by sustaining livelihoods and bringing social, cultural and economic change so ensuring the industry’s survival is key to Scotland’s recovery from this pandemic.”

All this can be summed up in one line that the Scottish Government is taking its events industry seriously, paving a way for others to follow.