Blackburn and Darwen venues receive lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

King George’s Hall and Darwen Library Theatre have been awarded £364,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

The money will help the entertainment venues face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, according to the Culture Secretary.

The venues form part of the 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks. 

This will mean that the survival of the venues is secured through to March 2021 and will also mean that Darwen can begin socially distanced performances in the coming weeks. The aim is to be able to pay artists fairly, whilst we are unable to fill the theatres to capacity and also means the start of an exciting archive project for people to get involved with until a full programme of events can begin again.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. 

These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Councillor Damian Talbot, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Executive Member for Leisure and Culture, said: “This is very welcome news from the Arts Council England and means we can secure the future of both venues for at least the next six months and start to bring performances back to Darwen earlier than would have been possible.

“The positive response from the local community to the recent Crowdfunder campaigns shows how valued these venues are and this grant helps bridge the gap for when theatres can return to a more normal operation.”

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