22nd Apr, 2021

Arts and heritage organisations in Warwickshire receive second cash injection to curb pandemic impact

ARTS organisations brought to a halt across Warwickshire have received a second cash injection as part of Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

It brings government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance to more than £1.2billion across some 5,000 cultural organisations and sites which are dealing with the challenges of the pandemic across the country.

In Warwickshire and Coventry some 35 organisations received around £5.8million from the funding pot, awarded through Arts Council England (ACE).

Among them is community choir The Big Sing, whose network includes an operation in Rugby. The nationwide group received £24million to help deliver workshops and projects to adults, children, dementia groups and hospitals. The choir also works with baby groups, school workshops, nurseries, groups for vulnerable women, disabled groups, special needs schools and care homes.

The British Motor Museum in Gaydon is also among heritage sites to benefit, receiving over £260,000. Funding will allow the transport museum, whose archive collection is a significant place of research for the motor industry and manufacturing, to move towards reopening, continue activities and to establish a new customer membership scheme.

Chair of trustees Kevin Timms said: “This funding is such excellent news. Thank you to the Arts Council for their efforts in coordinating the Culture Recovery Fund and for recognising the importance of the British Motor Museum’s collections, public engagement and all of the team’s hard work in this round of award. The timing is excellent too, as the British Motor Museum, like many others, is looking forward to re-opening in the coming months and welcoming everyone back.”

In Leamington, some £86,000 of the second round will support the future viability of exhibitions, events and workshops at the town’s Art Gallery and Museum, and live performance and film at the Royal Spa Centre.

The district council’s arts manager David Guilding said: “This is great news and a testament to all the hard work achieved by the team during this most challenging year. It is also a reassuring ‘seal of approval’ from ACE, who clearly understand what we are trying to do and why our services are so important to our local community. These funds will help us to put Covid measures in place at the Spa Centre ready for re-opening, adjust the existing ones in the town hall and Royal Pump Rooms, as well as fund some activity before we are able to generate income again.”

Meanwhile, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which maintains the five Shakespeare family homes in Stratford district, and which suffered a loss of some £17million, received £3million in repayable finance.

Chief executive Tim Cooke said: “We are now looking forward to reopening Shakespeare’s Birthplace on May 17 in line with government’s roadmap for cultural reopening, and we can also make plans to open further Shakespeare family homes in a phased manner this summer – more details will be announced shortly and we look forward to seeing visitors in person very soon.

“In the meantime we continue to expand our digital content, and we have just delivered our UK-wide Shakespeare Week initiative online for primary school children, enabling us to fulfill our charitable mission of sharing Shakespeare’s heritage and his enduring legacy with audiences all over the world.

“The decision to apply for this loan was considered carefully. As a self-funded charity, we have lost almost all of our trading income for a prolonged period, and we continue to suffer the effects of the major downturn in international tourism.”

Other regional groups and venues benefitting from the fund include Leamington-based dance troupe Motionhouse, contemporary circus No Fit State and performer network Ultimate Artistes.

Secretary of State for Culture, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

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