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22 Cumbrian organisations get £2 million boost from Government

Carnegie Theatre

Twenty-two arts, heritage and culture organisations have been awarded more than £2 million from the Government to help them reopen.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced details of over 2,700 organisations being offered nearly £400 million in grants and loans to help the culture and heritage sector reopen and recover as part of the Culture Recovery Fund.

The organisations in Cumbria which have received grants are:

  • Cumbria Theatre Trust – which runs Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake – £87,699
  • Lakeland Arts £405,920
  • Rosehill Arts Trust £176,807
  • The Beacon Museum £263,253
  • Kendal Brewery Arts Centre £118,900
  • Solfest Ltd £75,000
  • Carnegie Theatre Trust (Workington) £25,984
  • The Wordsworth Trust £121,138
  • Fluid Productions Ltd £205,450
  • Signal Film and Media £37,500
  • Keswick Museum & Art Gallery Management Ltd £77,400
  • The Bread and Butter Theatre Company £61,200
  • Eden Arts £81,269
  • Annie Mawson’s Sunbeams Music Trust £54,825
  • Highlights Productions £28,733
  • Northern Morris Cinemas (Bowness) Ltd £26,313
  • Prism Arts £35,000
  • Ulverston Coronation Hall £67,111
  • Ullswater ‘Steamers’ £425,000
  • Rydal Mount £31,330
  • RJ Towers – operator of the Alhambra Cinema in Penrith
  • Greenwich Leisure Limited – which runs the Sands Centre in Carlisle – £2.9 million nationally

Dame Judi Dench, patron of Theatre by the Lake which hosts the Keswick Film Festival, said: “Local cinemas are a vital part of our cultural lives, enthralling us with films about lives that we recognise as well as offering us stories about other cultures from around the world.

“They are places where people come together for a shared experience and have inspired many to make their careers on screen.

“We need to make sure that generations today and in the future have the same opportunities to enjoy and take part in the communal big screen experience.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England have allocated £44 million to over 470 heritage organisations.

Nearly all of the original £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has now been allocated, with over £1.2 billion in grants and repayable finance offered to more than 5,000 individual organisations and sites, and further grants to be finalised over the coming weeks.

At last month’s Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £300 million boost for the Culture Recovery Fund, as part of a wider £408 million package for arts and culture.

Lee Martin-White, chairman of the Carnegie Theatre Trust, said: “This is fantastic news and we’re extremely grateful the government has continued to protect theatres like the Carnegie through the Cultural Recovery Fund.

“Our aim now is to ensure we’re in the best possible position to reopen when we are able alongside developing a new and exciting future for the Carnegie with the development of our long-term strategy.”

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ said the grant was a lifeline for the business, which has been operating since 1859.

Mark Horton, Ullswater ‘Steamers’ general manager, said: “I am delighted that Ullswater ‘Steamers’ have been recognised as being such a significant part of our regional and national culture and heritage.

“This funding will enable us to maintain the high standards of maintenance and presentation that we are well known for, and to bounce back far more quickly from the devastating effects of this awful pandemic.”

Daniel Charlton, events manager at The Sands Centre, Carlisle, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our recent application to the Cultural Recovery Fund. This will help us to ensure that our venue is ready to open once is safe and practical to do so.

“The Sands Centre has always been an important component of the Cultural landscape in both the city and region and has become a key stopping point for major artists and productions as they tour around the UK.

“We can’t wait to welcome audiences and artists back to Carlisle, as these funds enable us to look ahead to the rest of 2021 with confidence, with over 100 performances currently planned until the end of the year.”

Highlights Rural Touring, which brings world-class artists to rural village halls across the North of England said the fund will help it breathe new life back into community spaces this summer.

Kate Lynch, director, said: “We may not have been able to tour artists to rural communities in the last 12 months, but we have continued to financially support them through this challenging time. We have also found new and exciting ways of engaging with our rural communities.

“This grant will enable us to support live events once again from this summer onwards.”

The organiser of Penrith’s Winter Droving has been awarded more than £100,000 to help it recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Eden Arts, which also normally runs several projects throughout the year, was awarded £81,269 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

It has also been awarded £27,500 for its Cine North project, which is a network of community cinemas, often in village halls.

Many of Eden Arts’ projects have been unable to take place throughout the last 12 months including The Winter Droving, usually welcoming 25,000 people to Penrith; Young Cumbrian Artist of The Year Exhibition, for 16-24-year-olds taking place at the University of Cumbria, Artist Spare Room, a programme of artist residencies at Penrith Old Fire Station, and Picnic Cinema, were cancelled or severely impacted.

Eden Arts estimates it has reached 500,000 people as live audiences or participants over the past five years and as a vital part of the regional cultural economy they employ around 150 creative freelancers, artists and casual staff each year.

Eden Arts director Adrian Lochhead said: “We know how important our charity’s work is to the community in Eden and across the north and I am sure that people will understand that small organisations such as ours operate on the tightest of margins and are quite fragile.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have been working across our projects with a severely reduced staff team.

“Thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund we can ensure we will be #HereForCulture for 2021 and beyond, and we are able to create more full time and part-time jobs at the company.”

The Wordsworth Trust is to receive £121,138.

The grant will help to sustain the Wordsworth Trust financially while it prepares to launch Wordsworth Grasmere, the new visitor attraction at Dove Cottage in the Lake District.

As well as Dove Cottage and its Garden–Orchard, Wordsworth Grasmere includes a new museum and outdoor spaces that have been opened up for the first time.

Michael McGregor, director at the Wordsworth Trust, said: “We are hugely grateful to the Government and to Arts Council England for this funding.

“Having been closed for so long, the grant will provide essential support to the Wordsworth Trust while it prepares to launch Wordsworth Grasmere this spring.

“We can now plan with confidence as we look forward to welcoming visitors again as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Rydal Mount near Ambleside, will reopen to the public next month with new facilities and a safer environment for visitors.

The house, where William Wordsworth spent the latter half of his life, and where he spent years landscaping the gardens as well as writing some of England’s most important poems, will open its doors on May 17.

Thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund, work is under way now to give the 16th century house a modern facelift.

Improvements will be made to access and ventilation.

The Wordsworth family, who own the house, have plans for a series of events throughout the spring and the rest of the year.

These will include bespoke guided tours, poetry readings, exclusive dinners, and an art fair.

And visitors will be able to see some new exhibits, previously never displayed.

They include two portraits which had not been seen for generations.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great-great-great-great-grandson of the poet, said: “We were genuinely worried about our ability to reopen the house, and this grant not only makes this possible but gives the family and everyone working at Rydal Mount a well-needed shot of optimism.”

Four Furness organisations are in line for additional support from the Culture Recovery Fund, including The Roxy Cinema in Ulverston, Signal Film and Media, Ulverston’s Coronation Hall, and the Bread and Butter Theatre Company.

Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, said: “I am delighted to see Furness institutions like The Roxy, Coronation Hall, Signal Film and Media, and the Bread and Butter Theatre Company get this level of support from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

“This has been an incredibly tough year for the arts and heritage organisations that help tie Furness’ communities together, attract tourists, and make this a fantastic place to live.”