More than £18 million awarded in final grants from first round of Culture Recovery Fund

  • Projects to revive heritage sites boosted with £13.5 million in kickstart grants including UK’s oldest surviving synagogue and Georgian outdoor swimming pool
  • 33 independent cinemas receive final awards from the first round of support awarded by the British Film Institute
  • Awards made as applications being processed for a further £400 million in lifeline grants and loans to support cultural venues into the summer

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced the final awards to be allocated from the first round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. The latest grants, awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, build on over £1 billion awarded to a huge range of cultural and heritage organisations last year.

Ambitious projects at 22 heritage organisations will benefit from £13.5 million in targeted grants allocated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restart regeneration and maintenance projects that were planned before the pandemic and now face delays or increased costs.

33 cinemas across England will benefit from £5 million awarded by the BFI as the final applications for independent cinemas are processed ahead of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

From restoring Georgian lidos and Roman baths to saving local screens and synagogues, our Culture Recovery Fund is helping to save the places people can’t wait to get back to, when it is safe to do so.

All over the country, this funding is protecting the venues that have shaped our history and make us proud of our communities, whilst safeguarding the livelihoods of the people that work in them.

A grant of £497,000 will go to the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in the UK, to protect its collection of significant objects and illuminate the history of the site and the community which has worshipped there for 300 years.

More than 90% of the grants allocated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund have been awarded to heritage projects outside of London, ensuring that the future of important projects at historic places are protected in all corners of England.

The Black Country Living Museum is currently operating as a vaccination centre, however prior to the pandemic the museum had been planning the single biggest development in its history which would create a new area on site exploring the history of the region through the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. A grant of £3,740,000 will help this ambitious project continue, creating opportunities for work and skills development in the local area.

£290,000 will ensure the plans to restore Cleveland Pools into a vibrant community asset can still go ahead as planned despite the pandemic. The Grade II* listed site is one of the oldest surviving outdoor lidos in Britain and visitors of all ages will be able to swim in the redeveloped crescent pool all year round from 2022.

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

These are all ongoing major refurbishment and restoration projects, funded by us, which have been threatened by the pandemic. From the oldest surviving outdoor swimming baths to a Victorian pier, and from a much-loved park to an historic abbey, these are all places that will enrich hundreds of lives when they reopen. We are delighted this extra funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure that these exciting projects will go ahead.

In addition, the BFI has awarded £5 million in grants to 33 cinemas, including two major independent companies operating cinemas across England. These grants to cinemas mean that 207 independent cinemas have been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund, 83% of which are outside London.

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive, BFI said:

Across the country, local independent cinemas are lifelines for communities and often the only form of culture and entertainment. As well as bringing people together to enjoy the magic of the big screen, local cinemas are hubs for educational and film activities and provide thousands of jobs. The pandemic has made clear just how important local communities are and the support of the Culture Recovery Fund means that many cinemas will be able to reopen and play a vital role in local economies and regeneration.

Reel Cinemas has been awarded £1,500,000 to support 13 multiplexes which will be crucial to the economic and cultural recovery of the communities they serve from Wakefield to Fareham.

KC Suri, Head of Reel Cinemas, said:

It has been very important to us to pursue all opportunities to protect the jobs of every staff member at Reel Cinemas, and to enable the cinemas to reopen, when permitted, to continue to serve our communities. This is why we want to thank the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the BFI who have awarded us this grant from the Culture Recovery Fund. This vital funding will enable us to protect job security and to manage our business sustainability at this challenging time.

Light Cinemas will benefit from a grant of £2,928,364 to support 10 cinema sites across the North, Midlands, and South East, ensuring their broad film programming and important community engagement can restart when cinemas can safely reopen.

Keith Pullinger, Deputy Chairman & Founder, The Light Cinemas said:

We want to thank everyone at the BFI and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for supporting us through the process to receive a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund. Covid-19 has devastated our finances and this grant is essential to protect our future and ensure our survival. There is still a lot of work to do, but we now have a platform to start rebuilding our business from. Our landlords and suppliers will need to play their part but this will help protect the jobs of the 220 people who are employed at our cinemas. We look forward to delighting our guests once more when we reopen all our sites later this year.

Ten awards totalling £636,887 in essential support to independent cinemas across England brings the total of grants awarded in the first round of funding for the sector to £21,080,662.

The BFI, along with National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Arts Council England, are currently assessing applications for the remaining £400 million in funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, which was held back to allow the Government to support organisations through the Spring and Summer.

Recipients from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund have contributed stunning images to a curated collection of video call backgrounds, released today. The public can choose from famous arts venues and heritage sites from Durham Cathedral and the English National Ballet to local favourites like Heaton Moor’s Savoy cinema to use as their background and show their support for the cultural sectors. The backgrounds are free to download.

Notes to Editors

The list of capital grant awards from National Lottery Heritage Fund is:

Museum of Oxford Hidden Histories £240,000
Bevis Marks Synagogue Heritage Foundation £497,000
North Yorkshire Moors Historic Railway Trust £296,000
The Royal Pavilion Estate, Brighton £1,000,000
Tavistock Guildhall Gateway Centre £130,900
Museum of the Home (Geffrye Museum Trust) £692,000
Bath Abbey £534,000
Tunbridge Wells Cultural & Learning Hub £675,000
The Archway Centre: Roman Baths Learning Centre and World Heritage Centre £359,600
Swanage Pier Regeneration Project £469,800
Cleveland Pools Trust £290,000
Lincoln Cathedral £973,600
Chester Farm £719,700
Wicksteed Park £302,700
Black Country Living Museum £3,740,000
The Whitaker £179,900
The Globe, Stockton-on-Tees £774,000
The Common Room of the Great North £228,000
Beamish Museum £975,500
Carlisle Cathedral £250,000
Thackray Museum £174,600
The Hyde Park Picture House £285,600

The list of cinemas receiving grants in this round from the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas allocated by the British Film Institute is:

Reel Cinemas (13 locations) £1,500,000
The Light Cinemas (10 locations) £2,928,364
Archlight Cinema, London £152,362
East Coast Cinema, Lowestoft £89,373
The Bonington, Nottingham £66,695
Piccadilly Cinema, Leicester £21,220
Tower Cinema, Skegness £36,026
CineBowl, Uttoxter £165,448
Regal Cinema, Wadebridge £5,625
Rex Cinema, Wareham £52,606
Westlands Entertainment Venue, Yeovil £33,133
The Wharf Cinema, Tavistock £14,399
  • Reel Cinemas supported are in Borehamwood, Bridgnorth (Majestic), Burnley/Hollywood Park, Chippenham, Chorley, Fareham/Market Quay, Ilkeston (Scala), Kingston Upon Hull, Morecambe, Quinton/Dudley, Rochdale, Wakefield and Widnes.
  • Light Cinemas supported are in Addlestone, Bolton, Bradford, Cambridge, New Brighton, Sheffield, Stockport, Thetford, Walsall and Wisbech.


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