THE town’s arts and heritage charity Culture Warrington has been thrown a lifeline after the government announced a £257 million injection to the arts industry.
Culture Warrington – the charity that operates Parr Hall, Pyramid Arts Centre, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery and Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival – has announced it will receive a £156,604 grant to help support its town-centre venues.
Difficulties began for the charity back in March, when the Covid-19 pandemic closed down venues up and down the nation, calling a halt to its most significant form of income.
Despite the challenges, staff have been working tirelessly to bring valuable cultural experiences to its visitors during this time, from providing engaging digital content, to reopening Warrington Museum & Art Gallery and Pyramid Arts Centre, and welcoming its most successful Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival Open Competition to date.
However, having had no live events in seven months, this welcome boost from Arts Council England is a real lifeline to the charity.
Leah Biddle, Cultural Manager for Culture Warrington, said: “We are so thankful to receive the generous grant of £156,604 from the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund.
“Our charity is facing an unprecedented set of challenges in the coming months but this funding will help support us in the immediate future as we continue to bring a top-quality cultural provision to Warrington, in addition to supporting our local creative community.
“We look forward to sharing further details with you in the coming weeks but for now we’d like to say a huge thank you to Arts Council England and DCMS for their support.”
Arts Council England announced the results of the funding applications earlier today, revealing that over 1,000 venues and organisations across the UK are set to benefit from the funding, which is being distributed on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.
The £257 million allocation is the biggest tranche of funding distributed to date from the Culture Recovery Fund, bringing the total amount of grant funding awarded so far to more than £360 million.
This funding will help allow performances to restart, venues to plan for reopening and to help protect jobs and create opportunities for freelancers.
Warrington South MP Andy Carter said: “I’m delighted with this announcement of £156,000 worth of emergency funding for Culture Warrington, providing a critical lifeline to Parr Hall and the Pyramid Centre which provides so much joy to residents during normal times.
“For the past couple of months, I have been lobbying the Treasury and DCMS to support theatres, live music, the arts and cultural projects that can’t re-open at the moment. I said in a debate last week that we have a moral duty to protect these institutions and I’m therefore glad that the Government has stepped in.
“This money will not only secure local jobs but mean these iconic venues can weather the storm created by coronavirus and come back stronger and continue to be there for local residents and future generations to enjoy.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The government is here for culture and we have worked around the clock to get this funding to arts organisations. It will give many of our wonderful theatres, museums, art groups and cultural venues a helping hand to get them back on their feet. This money will get to work right across the country to save these places and protect jobs and hundreds of millions pounds is on the way for cultural organisations of all sizes that still need our help.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This is a difficult time for us all, but this first round of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will help sustain hundreds of cultural spaces and organisations that are loved and admired by local communities and international audiences. Further funding will be announced later in the month and we are working hard to support creative organisations and individuals during these challenging times.”