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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Leeds 2023 Statement

Ruth Pitt Chair of Trustees Leeds 2023 and Kully Thiarai Creative Director Leeds 2023 have issued a joint statement:

All of us are extremely worried about the pace and scale of the Coronavirus situation and the impact it will have on all our lives, now and in the future.

Here in Leeds, all of us – our friends, families, neighbours and colleagues – are concerned about the health and wellbeing of everyone and anxious about what the future holds.

For the artistic, creative and cultural community, many face particular economic challenges in the months ahead as venues remain closed for the foreseeable future. The freelance community, small and medium businesses, and many art and cultural charities and their staff face uncertain and worrying times.

The mental health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities across the country is being affected significantly too, as people find themselves denied access to the things in life that bring fun, achievement and meaning to their lives.

Our board and executive team are absolutely resolute that Leeds 2023 will play its part in the city’s recovery to ensure that culture can thrive beyond this current crisis. We will continue to work with Leeds City Council and other partners to ensure Leeds 2023 finds ways to add value to all the support that is emerging across the city from the small acts of individual kindness to the mass  volunteering programmes that are providing vital support to our communities

One thing we are certain about is the role of culture in bringing people together and providing hope and joy in dark times.

We are already seeing the imaginative and creative ways people are using culture to connect with each other and lift our spirits: neighbours singing to each other; musicians sharing their skills and music online; actors creating sketches; comedians broadcasting shows from their sheds.

Culture is as important now as ever before to keep our humanity alive and nourished. Leeds 2023 commits to doing all it can to help get us through this in the short term, and support the city and its citizens to flourish in the long term. We are working hard to contribute to the collective effort needed to overcome this unprecedented challenge.

As a response to the on-going situation, we have collated key advice and information from the UK Government, Arts Council England, Leeds City Council and others on ways to manage these next few months.

We will continue to update this page over the coming weeks.

Government guidance

Leeds City Council guidance and support for creatives (detailing local & national grants)

Arts Council England guidance and support

Advice and guidance for the music sector (collated by Music: Leeds)

Covid19 An Open Resource for artist and arts organisations- Compiled by Guild from East Street Arts

Counterculture 10 tips for arts and cultural organisations

The Artists General Benevolent Institution

Axisweb Hardship Fund

Leeds City Council COVID 19 – help for people and communities

Become a community care volunteer

Support for Leeds based businesses

Guidance and support for self-employed

Nesta: How can we support the voluntary and community sector as they respond to COVID-19

National helpline for businesses and the self-employed: 0800 0159 559

Leeds Creative Timebank are also hosting a ‘virtual tea break’ where artists and creatives can chat over a cuppa:

Leeds Creative Timebank Virtual Tea break

Leeds Inspired is also listing online events taking place in Leeds

The Leeds 2023 team is now working remotely and will be holding all our meetings digitally or over the phone, you can contact the team as usual on 0113 511 2023 or at If you just fancy a chat or feel on your own and want to connect please don’t hesitate to reach out and call us. We will do our best to be there for you.


Meanwhile stay safe,

Ruth Pitt, Chair, Leeds 2023           Kully Thiarai, Creative Director, Leeds 2023


IMAGE: Ghost Peloton, Phoenix Dance Theatre