Lifeline grants for culture in all corners of the country

  • More help for heritage in need with £14 million investment in England’s historic sites including Durham Cathedral and Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill
  • Iconic venue Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London, and leading arts organisations Opera North, Leeds, and The Lowry, Salford, among leading cultural centres helped by over £18 million in grants

Lifeline grants from the latest round of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund will protect a further 162 heritage sites to ensure that jobs and access to arts, culture and heritage in local communities are protected in the months ahead, the Culture Secretary announced today.

Historic sites and leading cultural organisations, including iconic venues like Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and The Lowry in Salford, will receive help to meet ongoing costs and support to restart activity when it is possible to do so safely.

Over £18 million in funding will go to 8 arts and cultural organisations around the country in the second round of grants between £1 million and £3 million awarded by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This funding builds on £75 million in grants over £1 million for iconic venues like Shakespeare’s Globe and the Sheffield Crucible last month. In this round one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, will receive £1,272,631 to explore streamed performance opportunities for emerging and established British musicians.

More than £9 million has been allocated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which builds on £103 million awarded to places such as Highclere Castle last month. In addition, £5 million will go to construction and maintenance projects that have been paused due to the pandemic.

St Paul’s and Durham Cathedral are among some of the country’s most recognisable landmarks receiving the highest available grants over £1 million to ensure they can be protected from the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A grant of £2,125,000 will provide stability for St Paul’s which usually relies on visitors for 90% of its annual income and Durham Cathedral, popular with thousands of visitors every year as a filming location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, will receive £1,935,000 to cover staff costs and installing essential safety measures.

Blenheim Palace, the Oxfordshire birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, will receive £1,896,000 for extensive repairs and updates to exhibition areas for visitors when it is safe to reopen.

All four nations are benefiting from the UK Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, with £188 million barnetted to the Devolved Administrations to run their own process – £97 million for Scotland, £59 million for Wales and £33 million for Northern Ireland. This funding will enable them to increase the support already available to the arts and cultural sectors in each nation.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities.

From St Paul’s and Ronnie Scott’s to The Lowry and Durham Cathedral, we’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it can bounce back strongly.

Grants between between £10,000 and £1 million have been awarded to stabilise 77 organisations. Sites include Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Macclesfield, the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, which will receive £125,600 to develop the centre’s online offer to engage visitors unable to attend the site.

Historic England has allocated £3,971,513 in awards from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of a £120 million capital investment from the Culture Recovery Fund, to restart construction and maintenance projects facing delays or increased costs as a result of the pandemic and save specialist livelihoods in the sector.

Projects include Taylor’s Bell Foundry, the only surviving bell foundry still in operation in the UK, which will receive £449,918 for urgent repairs to the site to ensure that manufacturing can continue. As well as supporting thousands of heritage sites that rely on its services to maintain their historic bells and towers, this grant will preserve skills and processes unique to the industry.

74 organisations are also receiving grants of up to £25,000 from the Covid-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund, launched by Historic England and almost quadrupled thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund, to cover maintenance and repairs urgently needed on historic buildings and sites up and down the country. The unique Crystal Palace Dinosaurs which will benefit from £19,870 for repairs to these cherished local landmarks.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England said:

Historic places across the country, from Durham Cathedral embodying more than a thousand years of history to the Crystal Palace dinosaurs, much loved by children and grownups alike, are being supported by the Government’s latest round of grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kickstarting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of Covid-19. It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help to keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

The Government’s £1.57bn package for culture is unprecedented and it’s important to acknowledge how valuable this has been for our heritage organisations and visitor attractions. Although we are not able to support everyone facing difficulties, today’s funding package helps a diverse range of heritage organisations from across the country survive, adapt and plan for a brighter future through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
“By the end of this financial year we will have distributed almost £600m of Government and National Lottery Funding to heritage organisations. Investing in heritage remains vitally important, creating jobs and economic prosperity, driving tourism, supporting our wellbeing and making our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live. There is a lot more work to do to address the ongoing challenges, but this funding has provided a future for much of our heritage and the organisations that care for it, when it might otherwise have been permanently lost.”

As with other rounds, the majority of the awards have been allocated to organisations outside the capital.

The Lowry, Salford’s leading arts hub, touring venue and home to the national collection of works by LS Lowry, will receive £3,000,000 to cover ongoing costs incurred during the pandemic. Opera North, one of the major cultural institutions in the North of England and a leading opera company, will receive £2,000,000 to deliver its innovative Switch ON programme of online performances and continue its education activity virtually, including the In Harmony programme and other community partnerships.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

Culture makes a huge and increasing contribution to our national life, bringing communities together, fuelling our creative industries, and representing our country on the world stage. These grants add to those announced last month, and will put these organisations in a better position to bounce back and help their communities recover from this crisis. The Arts Council is grateful to the government for the special support being made available to the arts and culture through the Culture Recovery Fund and we’re proud to support all the organisations receiving awards today.

Other arts organisations receiving grants from Arts Council England include:

  • The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury – £2,999,999 in grant funding will cover core operating costs during this challenging period and help the theatre prepare effectively for reopening in Spring 2021.

The Marlowe Theatre hosts West End shows and large-scale touring productions as well as dance, music and comedy performances in the heart of Canterbury. The Marlowe co-produces award-winning pantomime and commissions work at all scales to provide participation opportunities for local communities.

  • North York Moors Historical Railway Trust, Yorkshire – £1,904,902 will help this accredited museum and authentic steam-age visitor experience maintain skilled staff and care for the historic locomotives in its collection.

The North York Moors Historical Railway is the longest heritage railway in the UK, stretching for 18 miles through the North York Moors National Park, and is one of the biggest employers in the area supporting the region’s tourism economy.

  • London Venue Group, London – £2,358,902 will maintain well-known venues in the capital during closure and enable them to explore streaming options in the future.

Omeara, The Social and Lafayette, the group’s main spaces in the capital, provide a crucial platform for grassroot musicians and welcome record label showcases and some of the leading rising artists in UK music. These venues have been a launchpad for a huge range of some of the UK’s biggest artists, from Adele and the Chemical Brothers to Ella Eyre and James Bay.

  • Academy Music Group, London – £2,981,431 will help meet the core operating costs of 20 leading live music venues across the country, including O2 Academy venues in London, Leeds and Liverpool.

The 20 English music venues within the Academy Music Group organise around 3,000 events every year, hosting some of the UK’s leading artists and global stars including Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Coldplay, Madonna and Dua Lipa.

Notes to editors

Full lists of organisations receiving funding awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England are here.

A full list of organisations receiving funding awarded by Arts Council England is here.

Additional quotes

Julia Fawcett, Chief Executive, The Lowry, said:

Thank you to the Arts Council and the Government for the grant of £3 million from the Cultural Recovery Fund. This fund has provided a vital lifeline to many arts organisations up and down the country and we are incredibly grateful for the support that it will provide to The Lowry.

Since being forced to close our doors back in March we have done our best to continue to serve our audiences, support our staff and provide creative opportunities for artists and communities – all in the face of losing 93% (£12m) of our income and the very real threat of permanent closure.

With this much-needed grant, we can begin the task of rebuilding our artistic and engagement programmes and continue to play our part in the cultural ecology in the North of England with confidence.

We’ll use it to make our galleries, theatre auditoria, workshop studios and employee areas socially distant, COVID-19 secure spaces. We’ll programme work of the widest possible range of genres and commission artists to create new work for the new normal. We’ll also extend our work in the local community in Salford, ensuring some of the city’s most vulnerable citizens are supported through this crisis.

Culture is an essential part of our fabric of life and the arts will play a key role as the nation recovers from the pandemic. Never before has the freedom to come together with friends, family and strangers to experience culture – in all its forms – been more important.

Deborah Shaw, Chief Executive, The Marlowe Trust, said:

We are thrilled and relieved to receive this vital support of £3 million from the Cultural Recovery Fund, which takes away the threat of permanent closure in the face of the Covid-19 crisis and supports our organisation through until the end of March 2021. We are hugely grateful to the Treasury and DCMS for their commitment to safeguarding the nation’s cultural life at this time, and to the Arts Council for ensuring that the funds have been distributed so widely.

The Marlowe receives no revenue funding and operates as a self-funding charity. We are reliant on Box Office for 99% of our income and our success in normal years allows us to invest in regional artists and production and to create a rich programme of creative opportunities for our thriving youth companies, our network of 22 associate schools and the communities of Kent.

With this funding, we are able to continue that work, build our organisational resilience and support our brilliant workforce. We intend to re-open as soon as possible, so we can be at the heart of our city and region’s spiritual, social and economic recovery.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, said:

It is with overwhelming gratitude that we warmly welcome the announcement that Opera North is to receive £2 million from Arts Council England as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to support the future financial resilience of the company.

Not only is this an enormous vote of confidence in the work of our company but real evidence of the government’s determination to invest in the north at a time when so many cities and communities are facing such uncertainty.

Our core purpose is to use music and opera to create extraordinary experiences for everyone, and we have stayed true to this vision throughout the uncertain times of 2020, sharing and making music live and online with people in the communities we serve.

We are grateful to Arts Council England, Leeds City Council and so many of our supporters and donors who have stood by us over these past months and into the future as we continue make music in theatres, concert halls, classrooms, community centres and public spaces across the north.

Will Palin, Chair, Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust said:

This wonderful grant has thrown us a life-line. The funds will allow us to press ahead with the repair and regeneration of this nationally-important building at risk, located in one of the most economically challenged areas of the South East. The funding will also help to support a range of apprenticeships in specialist areas of building conservation including stone restoration and brickwork.

Sarah McLeod, CEO, Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, said:

We are incredibly grateful to receive this hugely generous grant. Over the last three years a huge amount of vital repair work has been undertaken to protect the buildings and their beautiful architectural features.

This grant means we can further that work and tackle other roofs in a number of Grade I listed areas which are also in a critical state of decay. Repairs will be made to roofs over the Mansion’s North Pavilion, North and South Quadrants, the Meter House and a further section of the Long Gallery, protecting rooms below and contributing greatly to the building’s sustainability.

Wentworth Woodhouse is arguably the greatest and most challenging restoration project for a generation.

Andrew Wilby, from the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, said:

The Trust is delighted to receive this grant. It will make a huge difference to the preservation of the bellfoundry and sustaining the name of Taylor’s Bells around the world. It will also help to create an educational and tourist attraction of significance to Loughborough and the country.

Jon-Paul Bertorelli Lindsey, Director, Creeksea Place, said:

We are tremendously grateful for this grant. These crucial repair works will help us to open much of the 16th century wing for the first time in over half a century, enabling visitors to enjoy and experience the majesty of Creeksea’s rich and vibrant history.

The Very Reverend, Dean of Durham, Andrew Tremlett, said:

We are enormously grateful to the Government, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England for their support and investment in the cultural sector and the lifeline they have given us here at Durham Cathedral in the shape of this substantial Cultural Recovery Fund grant.

Durham Cathedral has served its community as a place of worship, learning, and wonder for almost 1,000 years, and this grant will help us to weather the recent storm by ensuring that the doors of one of the most iconic buildings of the North remain open to all. The grant will provide immediate help to support the cathedral’s recovery plans and build resilience to help safeguard this unique and sacred treasure for the people of the North East and those who visit from across the UK and the world.

The funding will go towards protecting the cathedral’s historic buildings which accrue significant operating costs even during periods of closure, as well as additional cleaning costs and health and safety equipment so that the cathedral can continue to provide a safe welcome to its visitors and meet its Good to Go Visit Britain accreditation. It will also help to protect some job roles in the immediate future and build greater financial resilience by supporting operational and cultural changes which aim to grow visitor numbers, deliver exceptional experiences – both in person or online – improve organisational planning and harness the opportunities provided by digital working.

Teresa Anderson, Director, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said:

Along with many of our fellow heritage and culture sites, the COVID19 crisis opened a huge chasm beneath our feet. This funding will bridge that gap, supporting us as we move through the current challenges towards the opening of our new gallery later in 2021. We’re incredibly grateful to the Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage for being there for us at this difficult time.

Revd Peter Holwell, Minister & Team Leader, Trinity Church Gosforth, said:

Trinity Church Gosforth, is a vibrant faith and community space, hosting 100 community groups and 2500 people weekly, along with a membership of 250. Despite a fall in income since March, it has still donated £9,000 to local charities this year. The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage grant supports the shortfall in finances, protects jobs, and helps us to continue to serve our local faith community and the people of Gosforth.

Mike Kelly, Chairman, East Lancashire Railway, said:

We’re immensely proud of the timeless experience the East Lancashire Railway provides for hundreds of thousands of visitors a year – thanks to the dedication of our volunteers and staff. However, the coronavirus outbreak has plunged our entire, long-term future into jeopardy.

This year alone we have been forced to make redundancies and we’re now facing a cliff-edge scenario with a 50 per cent drop in revenues, resulting in an historical six-figure loss, alongside a projected 50 per cent decline in revenues for 2021.

As a charitable organisation, we are left in a perilous position as we wrestle with these unprecedented financial and operational challenges. The loss of the ELR to the North West and the wider Heritage Transport family would be catastrophic on any level, which is why we’re so incredibly grateful for the financial award from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

Right now, with the railway again forced to close, it feels like the Culture Recovery Fund is the cavalry coming over the hill to save us. This incredible level of support helps cover our wages and operational costs for a precious few months and gives us an important breathing space to try and rebuild the railway’s finances.

The lifeline also helps us to keep running services and ensures the railway remains Covid-secure so that we can preserve this unique heritage experience for our many thousands of visitors of all ages and secure an enduring legacy for future generations to come.


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