£503,747 lifeline for Suffolk cultural organisations

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England has today announced further awards from its £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund: £58.9million has been awarded through the Fund’s Capital Kickstart grants programme, and over £165million has been offered through the Repayable Finance programme.

The Capital Kickstart grants will help cultural organisations across the country cover additional costs, caused by Covid-related delays or fundraising shortfalls, to their capital projects, including building works, refurbishments and large-scale equipment purchases.

£503,474 has been awarded to three organisations in Suffolk from the programme to help deliver projects that will help to strengthen the region’s cultural infrastructure.

£227,500 for New Wolsey Theatre, which is based in the heart of Ipswich and has a national reputation for developing musicals and music theatre; promoting and producing work by, with and from D/deaf & disabled artists and practitioners; developing and producing new artists and art forms; working in partnership with other subsidised and commercial producers to co-commission & produce. Funding will support the theatre to complete the fit out of The Spiral and refurbishment of front of house – helping to put participation and engagement front and centre of its work.

Sarah Holmes, New Wolsey Theatre CEO, said: “This award from the Cultural Capital Kickstart Fund is a tremendous vote of confidence for the New Wolsey Theatre.  We’re extremely grateful for the investment, which will allow us to complete an ambitious transformation of the public areas of the theatre and ‘Theatre Square’, which includes our extraordinary new participation space NW2.  Our determination to create an even better cultural space for our audiences and community participants has not wavered through the challenges of Covid-19; this award enables us to continue with ambition and confidence.”

£28,822 for Gainsborough’s House, the childhood home of Thomas Gainsborough, which is a national centre for the exploration of Gainsborough’s art, the development of the English landscape and the art of printmaking. With Thomas Gainsborough as its inspiration, it seeks to bring to life the art and ideals of Thomas Gainsborough to inspire a new generation of visitors. Funding will enable Gainsborough’s House to continue upgrading its Print Workshop.

£247,152 for Gecko Theatre, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed physical theatre company, led by Artistic Director Amit Lahav. A Gecko show is visual, visceral, ambitious theatre crafted to inspire, move and entertain. It strives to make work that is open to interpretation and puts the audience at the heart of the narrative. Funding will support to continue with development of the Gecko Creation Space, which will facilitate the creation of world-class new work and essential training opportunities.

The Repayable Finance programme will provide loans of £3million and above to some of England’s largest and most prestigious cultural organisations, helping them to weather the effects of the pandemic and reopen when it is safe to do so.  These loans have been tailored specifically to be affordable for cultural organisations and are offered on generous terms with an initial repayment holiday of up to four years, a low interest rate and up to 20-year repayment term.

Today’s 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.”

Amy Vaughan, Director, East of England, Arts Council England, said:“Thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund we have been able to support a huge range of organisations across the East of England, of all shapes, sizes and areas of work. Today’s funding through the Cultural Capital Kickstart Fund will build on that by providing vital support for capital transformations that have been affected by the economic impact of Covid 19. Each of these capital projects will make a huge difference to these organisations and we’re delighted to give them the kickstart they need to reach completion.”