Two grants have been announced this week from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to Strode Theatre in Street and the International Music Exchange based in Wells.
James Heappey, MP for the Wells constituency, says this is ‘extremely welcome’ with both organisations feeling the harsh effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 1,300 arts and cultural organisations are to receive a share of £257 million as part of a vital financial boost from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced, and these organisations are those who applied for the first round of funding.
This funding will help allow performances to restart, venues to plan for reopening and to protect jobs and create opportunities for freelancers.
Strode Theatre is an arts venue which hosts a programme of live professional and amateur shows, as well as arts exhibitions and live streams of national performances.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, it has been mothballed but work has been ongoing behind the scenes, so it is able to reopen as soon as it is viable to do so.
The International Music Exchange Ltd (TIME) specialises in the organisation and promotion of concerts, tours, festivals and exchanges across Europe for international youth and amateur orchestras, choirs, bands and ensembles.
Mr Heappey said he hopes the funding can ensure the two organisations can prepare for the future as they look to get back on their feet.
He said: “The arts have suffered terribly through this pandemic and I know so many organisations in my constituency have been working so hard behind the scenes to be able to reopen in a Covid-secure way.
“This is extremely welcome news and I hope this first round of funding helps Strode Theatre and TIME with their plans for the future. Both organisations are so important to the Wells constituency and we must do all we can to help them through this extraordinary time.
“I am very pleased to the see the Culture Secretary understands the importance of arts, culture and music here in Somerset.”
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.
“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.”