More than 200 independent cinemas across England are being supported this Christmas with £16 million in grants from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
201 cinemas have received funding so far from a £30 million pot allocated by the British Film Institute (BFI), on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the biggest ever single investment in this country’s cultural sectors. More grant applications from independent cinemas are also currently being assessed. Cinemas will be able to apply for another £14 million in grants in the new year as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The new round of funding is in addition to the £30 million already being allocated by the BFI.
The BFI has been accepting applications and awarding grants to independent cinemas throughout the autumn. Eligible cinemas were able to apply for Safety Grants, to help venues meet the immediate costs of implementing Covid-secure measures to protect staff and audiences, and larger Business Sustainability grants to help stabilise sites financially.
The majority of the grant funding allocated by the BFI has been awarded to cinema sites in every corner of the country, from Penrith to Peckham and Penzance, with cinemas outside London benefitting from 78% of funding to date.
Cinemas in the Midlands include:
Electric Palace Picturehouse, Cannock
Empire Birmingham Great Park, Birmingham
Empire Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham
Forum Northampton, Northampton
Kinema in the Woods, Woodhall Spa
Light House, Wolverhampton
Malvern Cinema, Great Malvern
Mockingbird Cinema, Birmingham
Number 8 Community Arts Centre, Pershore
Phoenix Leicester, Leicester
Playhouse Cinema, Louth, Louth
Red Carpet Cinema, Lichfield
Reel Cinema Ilkeston (Scala), Ilkeston
Reel Cinema Quinton (Dudley), West Midlands
Reel Cinema, Bridgnorth (Majestic), Bridgnorth
Regal Evesham, Evesham
Regal Cinema, Melton Mowbray
Ritz Cinema, Belper
Savoy Boston, Boston
Savoy Corby, Corby
Savoy Grantham, Grantham
Savoy Nottingham, Nottingham
Savoy Worksop, Worksop
Stafford Cinema, Stafford
The Northern Light Cinema, Wirksworth
The Wellington Orbit, Telford
Actor Michael Caine, who starred in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which drew audiences back to cinemas in the autumn, has welcomed the help for the industry and encouraged audiences to support cinemas with safe visits where possible. “The moving image has the power to change the way we think,” says Caine. ”The power to inspire; to delight; and to move. It happens to me all the time. Film is one of the most powerful and accessible art forms on earth – and for so many a local cinema is a place we know, love and have grown up with. A cinema is very often a vital part of any community and we need to support them in order to keep the art of film and the sense of community alive. Let’s go to the pictures!”
In Derbyshire, The Northern Light Cinema, Wirksworth, has been awarded grants totalling £27,749 to help the community venue continue to provide a diverse programme of screenings and events and work closely with young people as well as create a safe and COVID-secure environment for the local rural community when it can reopen.
Cinemas in England have also benefited from other aspects of the Culture Recovery Fund, including Nottingham Broadway which received a grant of £144,000 to kickstart its capital transformation project which was delayed due to the pandemic. Cinemas in multipurpose arts venues such as Home in Manchester and Watershed in Bristol were allocated grants by Arts Council England, ensuring that some of our best known screens have been supported during this crisis.
£14m in further support will be made available to cinemas through a second round of funding allocated by the BFI early next year from the remainder of the Culture Recovery Fund. Funding was held back to allow the Government to respond to the changing public health picture and will support cinemas at imminent risk of collapse before the end of this financial year. Cinemas which have not yet applied as well as those that have already received support will be able to apply for additional funding to help cover reopening costs from April to June next year. Guidance for applicants and eligibility criteria will be published by the BFI; Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have also published guidance for applications to the next round of grants. Cinemas are also able to apply to the repayable finance scheme for arts and cultural organisations.
Across the country, local independent cinemas are hubs and lifelines for communities and often the only form of culture and entertainment. From educational programmes and workshops for young people, to screenings for the elderly and audiences with specialised needs, these cinemas play such an important role in people’s lives. The Culture Recovery Fund will mean that many of these cinemas survive the current crisis, and go on to play a vital role in the recovery of local economies and communities, bringing people together to offer joy, solace and the magic of the big screen