Government grant of £264,414 for Turner Contemporary upgrade works

Turner Contemporary Photo Frank Leppard

A grant of £264,514 has been awarded to Kent County Council on behalf of Turner Contemporary.

The gallery is one of three organisations in Kent to get a share of £809,541 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England through its £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

The Capital Kickstart grants will help cover additional costs, caused by Covid-related delays or fundraising shortfalls.

Funding will support the gallery to complete its capital programme to improve the visitor experience and support its long-term future.

The gallery is now closed until February 2021 while the improvement works take place, which include a redesigned retail area which will showcase products and artworks from the gallery’s creative community, new and additional toilet facilities, new café furniture, installation of lighter doors to each of the galleries and faster Wi-Fi. The CCTV system will be upgraded, and a new finishing kitchen will improve the capacity of the café and enable it to stay open during events.

Turner Contemporary Credit Hufton + Crow

Improving the environmental efficiency of the building is central to the building works, including the replacement of halogen lighting with LED lighting which will greatly reduce electricity consumption and costs.

The aim is for the gallery to increase its financial resilience and provide a better experience for the thousands of visitors that it welcomes each year. An 86 space, fee charged car park to bring income into the gallery is also planned for a separate works project.

In February 2021, the gallery is expected to reopen for its 10th anniversary celebrations with a programme of new exhibitions and learning activities.

Grants were also made to Jasmin Vardimon Company and The Tunbridge Wells Cultural & Learning Hub

Cy Twombly canvases in the Journeys with the Waste Land exhibition previously at Turner Contemporary

Today’s (December 11) announcement follows several previous rounds of investment from the Culture Recovery Fund, which saw £428million distributed to over 2000 cultural organisations though the Grants programme, alongside the £3.36million Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund. The financing announced today takes the total allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund over £1 billion, delivering on the government’s commitment to be here for culture in every corner of the country during this pandemic.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “This government promised it would be here for culture and today’s announcement is proof we’ve kept our word.

“The £1 billion invested so far through the Culture Recovery Fund has protected tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK, with more support still to come through a second round of applications.

“Today we’re extending a huge helping hand to the crown jewels of UK culture – so that they can continue to inspire future generations all around the world.”

Victoria Pomery, Director, Turner Contemporary, said: “We are delighted that Arts Council England is providing additional financial support for Kent County Council’s capital improvements to Turner Contemporary through the Capital Kickstart Fund. These works will support the gallery’s future, as well as recognising the vital role of arts and creativity here in Kent. As we approach our tenth anniversary year in 2021, we look forward to reopening and welcoming audiences to our enhanced spaces.”

Michael Hill, OBE, Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, Kent County Council, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded investment from Arts Council England through the Cultural Capital Kickstart Fund to support the Turner Contemporary Capital Programme through the challenges faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This grant will help us meet the extra costs incurred as a result of the pandemic.

“These essential works will improve the visitor experience, as well as supporting the gallery’s long term future as it enters its tenth anniversary year.”


  1. The gravy train continues. Pompousrey must be laughing her head off. How much has she & her pretentious cronies screwed out of the taxpayer for this white elephant, vanity project the last decade?

    • Im with you Peter. Graffiti all over the recently built flood defences (that’s a surprise) and every light on the harbour wall smashed by vandals. Lets sort this sort of thing out first!

      • There are council cctv lampposts by the harbour and all over the seafront so who is using them if they cannot get evidence to prosecute the vandals? They need the sack as what is the point in wasting tax money on projects just to see them destroyed by mindless hooligans? TDC you need to buck yourself up and start to use your enforcement officers practibly. So close to the police station too. It seems everyone is turning a blind eye to criminality on the streets.

        What a waste the continuous flow of funding is on The Turner Centre! Why are they so priveleged when the rest of the area is being ignored and people living in poverty so close by?

    • Don’t be ridiculous Peter-the people of Thanet are not interested in clean streets & being able to answer calls of nature, we are only interested in niche minority cultural hubs & art galleries, because like Brighton we are a wealthy & elitist area.

  2. Why oh why has almost a third of this grant from the government been awarded to the Turner? Thanet is a prime destination for UK holidays and The Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal are far more likely to entice people to come here and in so doing boost the local economy. Both these buildings need refurbishment and, in the case of the Theatre Royal, vital maintenance.
    Over a period of many years stars of the entertainment industry have come to Thanet to perform in these two venues and in so doing have given Thanet much needed publicity and without more money invested in them entertainment will cease to flourish here and with it the holiday industry.
    Some people may want to see culture when on holiday but I can guarantee far more would rather spend their evenings in the Winter Gardens or Theatre Royal listening to music, laughing with comedians and enjoying the ‘buzz’ of theatre than spending a few moments gazing at a painting or sculpture.

    • Well said Joan. The Turner Contemporary would have continued to thrive without the upgrades. I fear for our entertainment venues post pandemic 🙁

    • Because ‘art’ is guaranteed to receive endless handouts from the government, especially if you can throw Emin’s name out there & have her do some publicity.

      • Steve the government did give almost £900,000 for the arts but the local powers decided to award a third of that grant to the Turner and the remaining two thirds was divided out to other ‘art’ venues, many of them obscure and places which few people had even heard of. The main venues, the theatres that most needed it, received only a small portion in comparison.
        My point is that the Turner and these other smaller artistic venues are unlikely to bring many people here and subsequently to spend money here but with successful theatres there will be more holiday makers, more jobs and our economy will begin to thrive.
        We have to begin to accept that our biggest asset is that we are a holiday resort and all resorts need venues in which people can enjoy themselves. The Turner might be of interest to a few but theatres are of far more interest to the masses.

  3. It’s a bloody monstrosity, money could be soo much better spent on things in Thanet that seriously need sorting out !

  4. As we approach a decade since the TC opened where is the regeneration of Thanet that Victoria Pomery has been touting all that time? The high street, seafront & Cliftonville are an embarrassment of empty & neglected buildings, surrounded by dirty pavements that look like a bomb has been dropped. The only ones seeming to be doing well are her & the surrounding luvvie shops.

    The only time the streets were cleaned properly is when Queen Brenda & later Princess Katie decided to visit the gallery.

  5. I agree with your last comment 100% Steve but it is a completely different issue to the monetary award from the government which was given specifically for the arts.
    I realise that as well as resuscitating our theatres something drastic needs to be done about the general feeling of neglect that pervades in some, but not all, Thanet areas. However, as I said, that is a totally different issue and should be tackled separately. It will be a slow process but if enough people care I sincerely hope that everywhere in our small corner of Kent will eventually recover and, dare I say it, an airport at Manston would go a long way towards making that happen. Or have I opened another can or worms?

  6. It is a measure of the failure of the Turner Contemporary as a project, that it still generates adverse comment rather than support after nearly a decade of existence.It is not loved in Thanet and even in Margate it is home town there is limited support.
    It relies on an elite based in Maidstone and Westminster to feed in a constant stream of funding to sustain its activities.
    Margate deserves culture, but it must be rooted in some kind of community understanding and buy in.Dropping a form of art that is not rooted in community values, on to a disbelieving populace is no way to build support.
    How long would it last if the drip feed of centralised funding ended?
    Ah! They will say, we have thousands of visits every year, we are helping the Tourist economy of Thanet. The answer to that is a certain part of Margate might benefit,but not Thanet.
    If we filled the museum with prints of old masters from Ebay, the visitor numbers would be similar.
    In 2021, Ms Pomeroy, should concentrate her resources on building community support,by mixing a measure of ‘popular art’ with the avant-garde. This is not vulgarian or down grading the museum, it is building local support and buy in.

    • Didn’t it take her five years to actually get a Turner in the Turner? Of course she has no interest in the local community-other than if they keep coming back then she can keep getting more money to keep this thing going, but her real interest is in the art crowd in London, Brighton etc.

  7. Absolutely disgusting yet again the arty farty get given loads of money. I am lost for words as to how the art sector keeps receiving our taxes.

    Hospices, homeless, foodbanks, crisis centres and lots more all need funds but yet again it’s the art sector that gets the cash.

    Sick to death of this country priorities

  8. BREAKING NEWS Turner Contemporary have just laid off 40 locally employed staff. The Gallery Assistants who were on Zero Hours Contracts have ALL lost their jobs.
    If they take this money they are being dishonest. As Oliver Dowden has given money to……’protect tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK’.
    They told the staff during Lockdown, so they were unable to demonstrate or hold any rallies outside the building.
    They should be ashamed…the management are safe…..just the minions get the boot

  9. It wouldn’t be so bad if they charged for admission and then it could be self funding. As for spending the ridiculous amount of money on a ten year old building… Who builds something to only last that long?
    Also if it doesn’t have paintings by Turner in there, lets call it by a different name, maybe Steptoes as what I have seen in there was a load of junk…

    • The Tate Gallery is named after Henry Tate of Tate and Lyle. A gallery doesn’t have to have a painting by whoever it’s named after.

    • I would love to see VP fired & have an art centre with actual art rather than scribbles/doodles that look like a five year old was let loose with some Berol felt tips or vomited up their breakfast & pretentious virtue signalling/woke nonsense so she can impress her friends in Brighton & London at how with it she is.

      Just get a giant skip & dump all that garbage in, then get some actual art in there. Start charging people to go in & sell things so you can make money, rather than leeching millions from KCC etc year after year & give people something cultured to look at.

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