Funding 'lifeline' for Forest culture

By Jake Chown  
Tuesday 30th November 2021 7:00 am
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CULTURE in the Forest is being given a "lifeline" by the Government this winter with a share of £107 million from the latest round of recovery funding.

Support grants from the latest round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund were announced last Friday (November 19), with two organisations in the Forest set to receive further shares.

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust will be given a £27,000 grant, while the Studio Cinema in Coleford will receive more than £34,000 of support.

The Sculpture Trust was one of 2,700 organisations to receive a grant from the second round of the fund back in April.

The award, which was allocated by Arts Council England, allowed the trust to introduce the new temporary ’Forest to Forest’ art trail at Beechenhurst to mark the Sculpture Trail’s 35th anniversary, as well as improve signage on the existing trail.

The temporary trail, which opened in July and will remain in place until January, features eight original art installations inspired by forest wildlife, flora and fauna and diversity.

Following the latest award, the trust said in a Facebook post that they were "delighted" to receive further funding, which will allow them to continue developing "wonderful projects" for the local community.

Studio Cinema in Coleford, which is owned by national chain Merlin Cinemas, was awarded a grant from the first round of the fund back in December 2020, in which 200 independent cinemas received a share of a £30 million pot allocated by the British Film Institute (BFI).

The latest funding is one of more than 870 "continuity support grants" which are being awarded to previous recipients, and brings the total awarded to the cinema across all rounds of funding to £103,687.

In a Facebook post following the first grant in December last year, a spokesperson for the cinema said: "To say we’re delighted is an understatement!"

"Thank you to the communities we are part of, to our hardworking team working in cinemas and behind the scenes and to everyone who has supported us this year."

Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper said of the latest awards in his weekly column for The Forester: "It’s great news that the Forest of Dean has continued to benefit from this fund in this latest round, which has delivered grants and repayable finance to support organisations from across our cherished arts, culture and heritage sectors, to help mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic."

An additional £300 million of recovery funding for arts, heritage and cultural organisations in England was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak back in March.

The fund has so far seen £1.2 billion given to support around 5,000 organisations across the country, and the latest round brings the total made available for culture during the pandemic to around £2 billion.

The Government says the funding will protect jobs and ensure that people can continue to have access to "important" arts organisations and venues such as theatres, cinemas, museums and community-led programmes and events.

Following last week’s announcement, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "Culture is for everyone and should therefore be accessible to everyone, no matter who they are and where they’re from.

"Through unprecedented government financial support, the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting arts and cultural organisations so they can continue to bring culture to communities the length and breadth of the country, supporting jobs, boosting local economies and inspiring people."

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