Borough arts, culture and heritage organisations receiving recovery funding

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There are a number of Wigan and Leigh recipients of the Government's latest round of grants and loans.

This is part of the second tranche of money under the Culture and Recovery Fund and is designed to help the culture and heritage sectors reopen to audiences and visitors during the spring and summer.

The biggest Wigan beneficiary is Arts at the Mill CIC, which has The Old Courts and the Royal Court Theatre on King Street and is also purchasing the Grand Hotel.

The organisation is receiving £394,872.

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The Old CourtsThe Old Courts
The Old Courts
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Theatre concern Peculius Stage is getting £46,890 while music business Plain View Production is receiving £35,000.

Wallgate music venue The Boulevard, which allows bands and artists to gain valuable experience of playing live for audiences of up to 400 people, is also getting £99,000.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, which runs leisure and wellbeing services being transferred back to the council, is also in the list of recipients, with an amount of £174,930 being awarded.

The BoulevardThe Boulevard
The Boulevard

The borough is also benefitting from the heritage section of the latest funding, with Leigh Building Preservation Trust which runs the Leigh Spinners Mill getting £60,200.

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The Government says that after months of closures and cancellations to contain the novel coronavirus and save lives the funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations they work towards returning to something like normal in the months ahead.

The Old Courts says that the arrival of Covid-19 in March 2020 slashed the amount of its revenue generated through trading activity such as ticket sales, hires, weddings, bars and the café falling from 87 per cent to around three per cent.

The venue says the funding will go towards the overheads to maintain its heritage spaces and support its work on digital programmes and championing the role arts and culture play in communities.

Peter Rowlinson at Leigh Spinners MillPeter Rowlinson at Leigh Spinners Mill
Peter Rowlinson at Leigh Spinners Mill

David Jenkins, The Old Courts managing director said: “Without the support of the Cultural Recovery Fund, it is unlikely that the organisation could have navigated its way through the

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pandemic which has caused in excess of £2.5m (98 per cent) of earned revenue losses.

"The fund has allowed us not only to survive but to ensure that the organisation is ready and able to respond to the current and future challenges.

"As we move into the recovery period, thankfully we are ready to be there for our communities to support their needs. We have met the challenges head on and with the CRF support we have continued with a programme of digital activity investing in over 470 artists through a programme of multi-artform events and maintained participation activity through digital channels.

"I am humbled and in awe of our team. As a not-for-profit organisation in normal times, we re-invest our profit and time into our community, arts and culture. During Covid, the support of the CRF programme has enabled us to adapt to run innovative operations ensuring that we are at the heart of the community.

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"We feel this demonstrates the vital role that cultural organisations can play as part of community life. Throughout the recovery period we are here to help the local sector recover and to support other organisations, freelancers and artists. We believe we can all come back stronger than before.”

The Boulevard’s director, Emma Elliott, said: “We were delighted to hear that our application was successful, and we wish to thank the Arts Council and the Government for the grant of £99,000.

"This funding has provided us with a much-needed lifeline that will enable us to reopen safely from May 17 and gradually return to a viable and sustainable operating model.”

The team at the Leigh Spinners Mill said the funding will assist with operating costs and support works being carried out including installing new disabled toilets, refurbishing the heritage areas, expanding the cafe and introducing a community supermarket.

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Peter Rowlinson, chair of the Leigh Building Preservation Trust, said: "We are extremely grateful to receive this funding which fills a gap in our funding which will ensure that our operational costs are met whilst we complete major new works which will make our visitor and tenant offer much more attractive and bring the mill up to the latest standards of safety.

"We were facing a potentially difficult funding shortfall until the offer of assistance but the Trust is now confident that we will re-open soon bigger and better."

More than 2,700 organisations across the country are receiving money in the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund, with grants and loans totalling over £300m.

This follows on from the first tranche of funding which helped to ensure the immediate survival of thousands of arts and culture concerns and heritage sites during Covid-19.

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Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.

"Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors, helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."

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