£17 million funding to save venues and cultural organisations in West Midlands

Coventry venues including Fargo Village, the Belgrade Theatre and Coventry Cathedral are to benefit from government funding to help them recover.

Red velvet theatre seating

95 arts and cultural organisations in the West Midlands are to benefit from a share of £17 million as part of a vital financial boost.

Organisations that applied for grants under £1 million in the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund were informed on Monday of their awards by Arts Council England.

The allocation is the biggest tranche of funding distributed to date from the Culture Recovery Fund, bringing the total amount of grant funding awarded so far across the UK to more than £360 million.

1,385 theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations, museums and local venues have benefitted from the funding nationally to help them survive the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is just the start – with hundreds of millions pounds more on the way for cultural organisations of all sizes that still need our help.”

Coventry Cathedral is to benefit from £74,152; Fargo Village from £150,000; and the Belgrade Theatre has been awarded £999,999 to help it recover.

The Albany Theatre has been supported with a grant of £250,000.

The University of Warwick’s combined arts is to be supported with £483,000.

Coventry-based organisation Clarity Leisure is to receive £179,000.

Community arts venue and cafe, EGO Performance, has been given £128,564 to help see it through the winter.

Mercurial Arts who hold contemporary art workshops locally have been awarded £64,548.

My Runway Group, a self-described creative multi-platform experience, has been supported with £60,708 funding.

All this funding will help allow performances to restart, venues to plan for reopening and help protect jobs and create opportunities for freelancers.

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, commented on the news: “The funding announced will provide a lifeline to some of the country’s most innovative and essential cultural organisations.

“The challenge as we move forward is to continue to create meaningful and exciting cultural experiences, protect the livelihoods of our talented workforce, and most importantly to demonstrate the need for and impact of culture in our communities.

“Culture isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it’s the bedrock of our society.”