Culture Recovery Fund grants for seven Thanet venues

Elsewhere in The Centre

Seven Thanet arts, music and performance venues are among more than 1,000 across the country to receive grants from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The first tranche of cash administered by the Arts Council was for applications under £1 million with recipients announced today (October 12).

Thanet venues to receive funding were:

Clayspace studios pottery, ceramics and sculpture not-for-profit social enterprise and teaching facility  in Cliftonville £57,857

Elsewhere record store and events in Margate £54,914

Faith in Strangers multi-use arts venue in Cliftonville  £107,000

Ramsgate Music Hall £78,201

Turner Contemporary £104,000

Westcoast Kent Margate CIC  £73,143

Your Leisure  £332,055 (Margate theatres, Dover Town Hall)

Margate Theatres

The threat of permanent closure had been hanging over Margate’s Theatre Royal and Winter Gardens if funding was be secured.

The historic venues, like almost all performance and event spaces across the UK, have been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic and both sites have remained shut since the March.

Hopes were pinned on a crowdfunder and the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

Other routes are also being explored, including a submission to the Margate Town Deal fund.

Operators Your Leisure have had to make seven of their 28 hospitality staff redundant from November 1 as the impact of lost income bites. The decision to ‘hibernate’, rather than host socially distanced events, is based on the need to reduce costs as far as possible and the unsuitability of the almost 250 year old Theatre Royal to be used with covid-secure measures in place.

The award is thought to be around a third of what Your Leisure had bid for.


The grant for Elsewhere in The Centre, Margate, will  help the grassroots venue survive.

Elsewhere, owned by Alex Barron of Monkey Boy Records, has been shut since March due to coronavirus restrictions.

The regulation changes allowing bars and restaurants to reopen on July 4 reduced the social distancing to one metre if two metres is not possible but for a site like Elsewhere this still hits audience numbers making financial viability difficult with a possible reduction to 15 people out of a capacity of 150.

Turner Contemporary is currently closed for refurbishment and not due to reopen until the end of January 2021.

Andre Dack, from Ramsgate Music Hall, said: “We’re incredibly relieved and grateful to have been awarded Cultural Relief Funding. This will keep us alive and well until at least April 2021, and we plan on delivering social distance/streaming shows in the next few months. We look forward to being back, even at such limited capacity.

“The fight is far from over. We must stand in solidarity with those venues who were unsuccessful in their bids, and of course those who have fallen through the cracks of the system.
“A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us since March. We are blown away by the love.”
A message from Clayspace to social media followers said: “We’re thrilled and very relieved that we’ve been awarded a cultural recovery fund by the arts council. This will not only enable us to keep going for 6 months but also give us the security to make plans for our future.”
A Westcoast Kent spokesperson said: “We are pleased to announce that Westcoast Kent Community Interest Company, Margate was successful in its application to the Culture Recovery Fund which will enable us to continue our work over the next six months. On behalf of our staff we want to thank Arts Council England & DCMS and those individuals who have worked hard to deliver this fund. With this support, we can continue with our ambition to bring cultural and meaningful programming to our area and support young people to be part of it.

“We would also like to state that this remains a difficult time for everyone throughout the creative sector and we remain committed to working collaboratively with our fellow creative arts organisations, educators and our community. Together we are stronger and hopefully we can all survive these turbulent times.”


North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said: “I welcome the funding that will go a long way to help ensure that these organisations can survive and prosper once again after COVID-19. The culture sector is one that has taken a big hit due to the virus, and I am encouraged to see that the Government has put £1.57 billion into helping this industry.

“As much as this money will help some organisations here in North Thanet there are others that have not received assistance. I will be calling on the Treasury Office and the Chancellor to see if we can get help for more of the excellent cultural organisations in North Thanet.”

Craig Mackinlay MP said:“These are unprecedented times and this investment in UK culture will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations in South Thanet hit hard by the pandemic and will also benefit those who work in the sector.

“My sincere congratulations to Ramsgate Music Hall, Your Leisure Kent, Faith in Strangers and Clayspace Studios and thank you for all you are doing to keep the culture sector alive in Thanet in these extremely difficult times.”

Chairman, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Reaction to come


    • Your Leisure are the company behind Margate’s Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal. REALLY glad they’ve got funding!

  1. Faith in Strangers is a members club and I fail to see any way that it’s subject to the kind of restrictions on its business as the other legitimate claims here. Well done on them for claiming the grant but in reality the arts council as they have done many times before fail to really see where they’re money is going And it’s the best that deserve it most that usually suffer as they aren’t as savvy as others. I’m afraid I have no faith in strangers after this !

    • I see no reason why the Great White Shark-sorry Turder Centre needs 104k of public funding. Can Emin who never stops singing its virtues not just stump up a million or so for them-after all, she sold her dirty bed for 2.5 million, or does her support only go so far? What about all the other great & the good who have been bigging it up all these years? Short arms, deep pockets syndrome?

  2. How come People Dem Collective didn’t get anything? They already have Primark in the bag from all we have been reading.

    • What does DEM stand for in People Dem Collective? Nobody ever explains it’s meaning!
      And, the Turner centre manages to get funding from everywhere but there are many more smaller outfits that don’t get a look in.

  3. Wow faith in strangers this is a really expensive members club. How the heck did they get this public funding !!! Nothing inclusive about this place, they have spent a fortune on led lighting a toilet jukebox seriously shocked 😮 that’s public money is going to this organisation!!! How the hell they are getting more than the Turner is beyond unbelievable

  4. I am extremely saddened by the fact that the Winter Gardens and the Theatre Royal only received a third of the amount they bid for. I can understand that social distancing would be difficult for the Theatre Royal because the foyer is so small but because it has space and several entrances and exits it could be easily arranged in the Winter Gardens.
    It is essential to remember that the Winter Gardens houses not only shows but also events such as Winter Wonderland and provides large accommodation which can benefit the entire population of Thanet.
    In addition to this is also has to be remembered that many people visit Thanet for holidays. Our visitors have the beaches during the day but to entice them here they also need entertainment in the evenings and so, in order to keep the vacation industry alive, it was imperative that the Winter Gardens was given what it needed to keep it thriving.

  5. The Ramsgate Music Hall is an amazing venue and they have really been active and brilliant through this whole time, actively trying to help themselves and not just wallow.

    It’s an amazing venue and I over the years have been to hundreds and hundreds of gigs and one of all my time faves was there! Right on my door step. I still don’t know how they got the Jungle brothers but what a brilliant few gigs they had there on both visits I saw and they have had so many more brilliants gigs.

    I just hope it’s enough to save them from closure.

    I wish all the venues here and not listed here luck and hope we don’t see the arts vanish from Thanet.

  6. Difficult to see why Faith in Strangers qualifies for such funding , a look at its website shows its little more than a commercial enterprise offering workspace. Wouldn’t mind if the cash was to turn it back into Franks in it’s heyday.

    • Love Franks! The memory’s. We need those great clubs and great nights back! If there going to turn in back into a nightclub I’m in!

  7. I fail to see how the Turner Centre needs any money, as It is free to enter anyway. So have lost no money. Also the fact even before Covid-19. It was planned to close from September till January, for refit. There is so many more much more deserving venues in Thanet.

    • That it needed nigh on 2 million spent on it so soon after being built is bad enough in itself. Talking to one of the electricians huge amounts are being spent “upgrading” office and backroom areas , which has meant wholesale replacement of equipment/wiring less than 10 years since it opened. Only an organisation funded by others would operate insuch a fashion. I rahter expect there will be wiring in the wintergardens that is nearer 50 years old.
      No doubt its all a case of who not what you know.

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