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Frequently asked questions about the impact of the coronavirus situation on grants already awarded

What basic guidelines has the City drawn for the use of grants awarded for 2020 in the event of the emergency situation due to the coronavirus?

Because of the special circumstances caused by the coronavirus, the arts and culture grants, grants for basic arts education and development grants awarded by the City of Helsinki for 2020 can be used until 31 May 2021 for the same or similar activities as presented in the applicant’s original plan. Grants used in such a way will not be reclaimed.

When adjusting or postponing the activities, the recipient of the grant should make sure that the use of the grant is not in contradiction with the purpose of the grant decision or the grant rules.

There is no need to apply for a separate decision regarding the changes to activities caused by the coronavirus situation. However, the grant recipient is to keep a record of the changes and describe them when reporting on the use of the grant. The grant recipients are to follow all current instructions given by the authorities.

We will have to cancel an event that has been awarded a City grant. Should the grant be paid back, and if so, how?

If the event has to be cancelled completely due to the coronavirus or for any other reason, and no costs have yet been incurred for organising the event, the grant must be paid back in full. If costs have already been incurred for the organisation of the event being cancelled, the amount of these costs does not need to be paid back. However, if a part of the grant remains unused in such a situation, the unused part must be paid back. For arrangements to pay back the grant, please contact: Minna Leino, administrative secretary, minna.leino@hel.fi.

We have been awarded a City grant, but the time and content of the event will change. How do we know that the grant will not be reclaimed in this case?

Arts and culture grants for 2020 can be carried over to be used at a later date, up to the summer of 2021. However, the costs of the events to be postponed must be incurred by 31 May 2021, even if the date of the event itself is in the summer season 2021. The use of grants carried over in this way must be reported on by 30 September 2021.

The City has stated that the content of the projects can be changed with a low threshold. In practice, the event organisers primarily evaluate themselves how the time, content, format and budget of the event will be changed. These changes must be reported and justified when reporting on the use of the grants. The use of the grant must be in line with the City’s grant guidelines and the purpose of the grant decision.

The City acknowledges the situation, is flexible with the use of the grants and understands that circumstances have changed and become more difficult. If the applicant is unsure, they can contact the grant draftspersons and agree on the matter in more detail: https://www.hel.fi/kulttuurin-ja-vapaa-ajan-toimiala/en/grants/cultural-subsidies/contact-information.

If the realised activities are much smaller than what was planned, does this have an impact on the acceptance of costs?

The City understands that the event may be realised on a much smaller scale than planned. However, the goal is to carry out the performances and events in a way that serves as a substitute for the original plan, but in a smart way. If the costs of the activities are smaller than the grant received, the unused part of the grant must be paid back. For arrangements to pay back the grant in such an event, please contact: Minna Leino, administrative secretary, minna.leino@hel.fi. If you are unsure about the changes you are planning, please compile a justified proposal and cost estimate and contact the grant draftspersons: https://www.hel.fi/kulttuurin-ja-vapaa-ajan-toimiala/en/grants/cultural-subsidies/contact-information.

How can I be sure that the changes in the activities are acceptable? When should I notify you of the change before the end of the grant period?

As a first step, try to evaluate for yourself the use of the grant to ensure it does not conflict with the purpose of the grant decision or the grant rules. If you are unsure, please contact the grant draftspersons well before the costs are incurred: https://www.hel.fi/kulttuurin-ja-vapaa-ajan-toimiala/en/grants/cultural-subsidies/contact-information.

How do I report on the changes to my grant?

The changes must be described when reporting on the use of the grant. The instructions and reports for reporting on the use of the grants can be found on the culture grants web pages: https://www.hel.fi/kulttuurin-ja-vapaa-ajan-toimiala/en/grants/cultural-subsidies/using-a-grant-and-creating-reports.

Can I use the grant for an event held in the summer of 2021 if the grant received is used for costs incurred before 31 May 2021?

Yes, you can. The use period of already awarded arts and culture grants has been extended to 31 May 2020, but their use can still be reported on after the summer, by 30 September 2021. The instructions and reports for reporting on the use of the grants can be found on the culture grants web pages: https://www.hel.fi/kulttuurin-ja-vapaa-ajan-toimiala/en/grants/cultural-subsidies/using-a-grant-and-creating-reports.

If I have to postpone the implementation of the event until the summer of 2021 but have to use my project grant to cover the costs of the cancelled event in 2020, can I get more funding by applying for a grant for the future event in the autumn? (This is an annual event.)

You can apply for a grant again for the event in 2021 but you must indicate the funds and resources that will be available due to the cancellation of the 2020 event.

If the original venue is no longer available and other venues are not yet re-scheduling their programming due to the situation, but the performance has been rehearsed, what happens if a venue is not found by 31 May 2021? Will we have to pay back the grant even though we have used it for our own work?

In such cases, costs, such as work, incurred by 31 May 2021 do not need to be paid back. If the performance can be made available to the public in one way or another, it is not essential if the implementation is different to or smaller than stated in the application. However, if the project is not carried out at all or the costs of implementation are otherwise lower than the grant received, the unused part of the grant must be paid back. For arrangements to pay back the grant in such an event, please contact: Minna Leino, administrative secretary, minna.leino@hel.fi.

If this year’s activities are postponed to next year, will it affect next year’s normal operating grants? That is, will the postponed activities be seen as an addition to normal activities?

You can normally apply for a grant again for the activities in 2021 but you must indicate the funds and resources that will be available due to the cancellation or postponement of the activities in 2020. The applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account such aspects as how much the funds carried over from the previous year can be used to cover the activities of the year in question.

Do you need some kind of receipt or voucher for the grants paid to artists, or is a mere statement of the distribution of the grant enough?

It is not necessary to submit separate documents or receipts to the City of Helsinki for the grants distributed to artists, unless additional information on the implementation of the project is separately requested. Further information on the use of project grants: https://www.hel.fi/kulttuurin-ja-vapaa-ajan-toimiala/en/grants/cultural-subsidies/instructions-for-the-recipients-of-grants-awarded-for-project-based-activities

Can I use my grant awarded for project-based activities for general operating costs incurred by an event organiser over the year (e.g. rent, accounting, administrative costs)? Under normal circumstances, these costs would be covered by entrance fee revenue, which I currently do not have...

You may use the grant for costs that can be considered to be related to the preconditions for carrying out the activity that received the grant or substitutes it. This year, it is possible to modify the use of the grant with a low threshold, even in situations where it is not possible to carry out activities open to the public. However, when reporting on the use of the grant, it must be explained how the coronavirus situation has affected the opportunities for carrying out the activities. The grant may be used to cover costs in accordance with the rules of project grants: https://www.hel.fi/kulttuurin-ja-vapaa-ajan-toimiala/en/grants/cultural-subsidies/instructions-for-the-recipients-of-grants-awarded-for-project-based-activities.

I have received an operating grant but, because of the coronavirus situation, it will now be used to cover fixed and administrative costs, such as rent. Since the situation started, it has no longer been possible to organise activities for the public during the quarantine period or in the autumn after that. Is this okay?

The City understands that the activities may be realised on a much smaller scale than planned. The aim is for the activities to be carried out in a way that substitutes the original plan, but in a smart way. This year, it is possible to modify the use of the grant with a low threshold, even in situations where it is no longer possible to carry out activities open to the public. However, when reporting on the use of the grant, it must be explained how the coronavirus situation has affected the opportunities for carrying out the activities. If the costs of the activities are less than the grant received, the unused part of the grant must be paid back. For arrangements to pay back the grant in such an event, please contact: Minna Leino, administrative secretary, minna.leino@hel.fi.