The UK government has announced a Culture Recovery Fund to help support the reopening and recovery of more than 90 independent cinemas across England. £30m has been set aside for England’s independent cinemas. 92 venues will receive a share of more than £6.5m from the British Film Institute, or BFI, which is distributing funds as part of this support package of nearly £2bn to aid Britain’s culture, arts and heritage organizations.
These grants will help to support venues on reopening and ensure they have budgets set aside for effective social distancing measures which will restrict the number of admissions they’ll be able to offer each day.
Previously, funds were allocated in October, December and February and this announcement marks the second round of awards from the initiative. Theses new grants translate to a total of £27.6m which has been received by 209 independent cinemas from the Culture Recovery Fund. The majority of these cinemas – 87% – are outside London.
Many of these UK venues have been struggling immensely, as the majority of them been closed since the UK’s first national lockdown in March 2020. The new funds being allocated will be crucial to their vitality, with an impending reopening reopening date of May 17 in the works for England cinemas.
As part of this new funding round, £138,333 will go toward London’s Phoenix Cinema, which is Britain’s oldest cinema in continuous use. Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench is a patron. Additionally, £45,640 will be put toward the Barn Cinema in southwest England, which is iconic as it is based in a 14th-century barn in the village of Dartington.
Overall, 14 independent cinemas in London received £2m in the new funding round, while 19 cinemas in southeast England received a sum of £1.1m.
More details are expected to be released on the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund, as a result of the UK chancellor’s announcement on an anticipated £300m boost to the fund in March, as part of a large £408m package to fuel UK arts and culture. The direct government investment in the art, media and entertainment sector since the start of the pandemic will then reach almost £2bn.
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