COVENTRY City Council has been awarded £1,120,200 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to improve cultural buildings.
The cash, announced this morning by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England, has been made available for production spaces ahead of the City of Culture 2021 year.
It will aid Coventry’s vision for the city to be a culturally attractive, vibrant, leading city of culture in modern Britain.
Among the buildings being invested in will be the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Cathedral, Drapers Hall, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and St Mary’s Guildhall.
Coun David Welsh, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, welcomed the news.
He said: “The funding from the Arts Council is crucial at a time when the city is dealing with the knock-on effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Cultural organisations need to have every opportunity to achieve their full potential and this gives reassurances especially in the short term.
“All of us are looking ahead to next year with hope. It’s so important for these capital projects to keep progressing in difficult circumstances.
“It will be a great legacy for our City of Culture year to see them completed and enjoyed by local people and visitors to the city.”
The cash comes from the £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund pot with the latest tranche providing £23.4million worth of funding in total for the West Midlands.
It was 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.
£4,016,971 has been awarded to nine organisations in the West Midlands from the programme to help deliver 13 projects which will help to strengthen the region’s cultural infrastructure.
Peter Knott, Arts Council England’s area director, said: “We’re pleased to support nine arts and cultural buildings to complete their refurbishments or redevelopments across the West Midlands, offering more opportunities for people to experience great art and culture.
“Our Capital Grants programme provides organisations with vital funding to ensure they have the right buildings and equipment to help them become more sustainable and innovative places, as they deliver exciting work to the public.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increasing costs and time delays to many projects, so we’re delighted to offer additional funding to make sure these projects are completed, re-opened and of benefit to all.”
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.
Among them is the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Warwickshire which has been offered a loan totalling £19.4million.
The 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.