Two independent Thanet cinemas receive Culture Recovery Fund grants

Lifeline funding for two Thanet cinemas

Two independent cinemas in Thanet and one in Sandwich are among some 200 which have received lifeline funding from the government.

Today (December 20) it was announced that 202 cinemas have been allocated £16 million in grants from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The awards are part of a £30 million pot allocated by the British Film Institute (BFI), on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,

Palace Cinema Broadstairs

The Palace Cinema in Broadstairs, run by Corinna Downing and Simon Ward, had been allocated £62,441.

The cinema has had its doors closed for much of the year with a reopening at the end of October cut short by the second national ‘lockdown’ and then Tier 3 – and now Tier 4- restrictions.

Corinna said: “We’ve had other smaller amounts from different grants, and our staff are furloughed, but this is the one which looks ahead to the near future of covering overheads and the time required to ensure the business is ok until the country and the film industry are, too.

“We feel relieved for the survival element, but even more so that it allows us to ensure that the Palace is ready all round to not only survive but also thrive through the beginning of 2021 while we all wait to see what happens next.

“We have plans in store for January to bring the Palace to schools, young people and adult audiences via online and – if/when possible – on site film activity,”

Westgate’s Carlton Cinema has been awarded £126,458.

The cinema, headed up by manager Vic Ainsworth, had reopened its doors in August with a series of covid secure measures in place.

The November lockdown and following tier restrictions have meant the venue’s closure again.

The cinema’s Managing Director Adam Cunard said: “The Culture Recovery Fund has enabled our Picturedrome Cinemas teams to continue proudly serving the communities we love. Our traditional cinemas will remain the beacon of light and entertainment at the heart of the high street, a comforting glow in what have been challenging times for everyone. As MD I would like to thank the team of people I work with, the Government and BFI for supporting Independent cinemas.”

A grant of £9,192 has also been made to the Empire cinema in Sandwich.

Cinemas will be able to apply for grants from a £14 million pot in the new year as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The new round of funding is in addition to the £30 million already being allocated by the BFI.

The BFI has been accepting applications and awarding grants to independent cinemas throughout the autumn. Eligible cinemas were able to apply for Safety Grants, to help venues meet the immediate costs of implementing Covid-secure measures to protect staff and audiences, and larger Business Sustainability grants to help stabilise sites financially.

Recognising that cinemas need content, during this crisis, the Government’s Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has helped keep the cameras rolling at the other end of the screen supply chain.

The £500 million scheme, which opened for applications in October, has assured nearly 100 productions that they will be supported if future losses are incurred due to Covid-19 and provided the confidence they need to restart filming.

The deadline for productions to register for the scheme has also been extended until April 2021, giving more film and high-end TV projects the security to start shooting in the spring.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The magic of film is such an important part of the festive period and this investment will help protect our independent cinemas so they’re around for many Christmases to come. Alongside it, the extension of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme means the UK will be producing even more great content as the cinema industry recovers, keeping us at the forefront of the creative industries.”

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: “Across the country, local independent cinemas are hubs and lifelines for communities and often the only form of culture and entertainment. From educational programmes and workshops for young people, to screenings for the elderly and audiences with specialised needs, these cinemas play such an important role in people’s lives. The Culture Recovery Fund will mean that many of these cinemas survive the current crisis, and go on to play a vital role in the recovery of local economies and communities, bringing people together to offer joy, solace and the magic of the big screen.”


  1. Excellent news for independent local cinemas. It’s a pity that the iconic Dreamland cinema in Margate has not been open sitting empty for a time when it was run by the same company at the time ran the Carlton Westgate. This should be reopened as a cinema again instead of more arty farty ideas for the building. What’s happened to the Compton theatre organ that is still inside. Monies were given for the building the lively colourful led lighting on the outside and sign is now fading has been for some time. This should be maintained by whoever is responsible. Dreamland when opened was the last cinema usual traditional projectors from the hay days good clear screen and sharpness with sound that was just right modern cinema is too loud in a small area.

    • I agree with you completely. I would love to see the cinema at Dreamland reopen again . I have so many fond memories of the cinema in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and until its closure. The large picture and sound quality screen. The ladies with the trays selling ice cream while walking down the two isles and finally, standing at the bottom by the screen at each side, and the queuing up there , hoping they hadn’t sold out by the time you get to the front of the cue!!
      BUT, what would be really great is the cinema to be converted into a IMAX screen cinema with its huge curved screen!! I think there may be one in the Medway area, and definitely in London.

  2. Great news regarding The Carlton, a real asset to Westgate-on-Sea, and something that many far bigger towns don’t have. I even saw a couple of movies there this year – masked, socially-distanced and temperature-checked of course.

  3. What about the granville in Ramsgate? It’s a lovely place that’s brought joy to residents of thanet for years. The Carlton is a great cinema but in much better condition than the granville, and it’d be a real sadness to see it go, money like this could really help it out.

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