Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has received a grant of £165,613 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help King George’s Hall, Darwen Library Theatre, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery and Turton Tower recover and reopen.
More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council delivers diverse cultural services that have continued to engage and connect with communities throughout the pandemic. Buildings have closed, but we have trialled and delivered a range of digital programmes, and have been working hard behind the scenes to make improvements to the way we do things for when it is possible to welcome people back.
This funding will enable the various services to focus on future-proofing by; making buildings covid-secure, supporting overheads, securing jobs and skills and adapting service delivery, both digital and in person.
Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.
Culture Secretary, 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.”
Denise Park, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, commented: “This is such welcome news. The arts sector is a very important one that has been hard-hit by the pandemic. In Blackburn with Darwen, our theatres and performance venues have had to stay closed for over a year. Meanwhile, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery has been able to adapt to deliver some educational sessions online. This funding, added to the £364,000 the Council was awarded from the Culture Recovery Fund last October, helps us to secure the immediate future of these venues, and put necessary measures in place to ensure that they are Covid-secure for visitors and audiences to return.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”
The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.