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)
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.
“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.”
Reaction to come