Delight over extra funds for independent cinemas in Shropshire and Telford

Two independent cinemas are breathing a sigh of relief after being awarded a slice of a £500,000 fund to keep them afloat.

Kinokulture community cinema in Oswestry
Kinokulture community cinema in Oswestry

Oswestry's Kinokulture centre will receive £21,365 and Wellington Orbit £2,948 in the latest round of allocations from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's Culture Recovery Fund.

The arts centres are among more 72 local cinemas to share a total of £514,407 from the Government pot.

Cultural and arts centres in Shropshire have been handed a total of £2.6 million under the scheme, with more than £1m of this going to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust which runs attractions including Blists Hill and the Museum of Ironbridge.

In a joint statement Ruth Carter and Ian Garland managers at Kinokulture, in Arthur Street, Oswestry, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have received support through the BFI Culture Recovery Fund, enabling us to redesign the auditorium and put in all the measures for us to reopen our doors and safely welcome our wonderful community back to the big screen experience."

Plans last year to celebrate the centre's 10th anniversary with a full schedule of events were put on hold when the coronavirus pandemic struck. Bosses has also hoped to open a second screen as part of its expansion and plans to reach out to a younger audience.

Wellington Orbit

Wellington Orbit in Station Road, Wellington, is operated by Clifton Community Arts Centre and opened its doors two years ago after renovating a former bank in the town centre. It was among 31 independent cinemas to start trading in 2019.

Chairman Phil Morris-Jones said: “ By enabling us to trade on a break even basis the Culture Recovery Fund award has respected the five years of hard work, money and emotion put in by so many people to get a trading premises while preserving our aspirations to fully reconvert the site into the all embracing arts centre our town deserves.”

Both sites have previously been awarded a funding boost. In December Kinokulture cinema received £25,282, and Wellington’s Orbit cinema was given a huge boost of £65,647 and in October £3,662 also towards recovery.

The cinemas also reopened their doors following the first lockdown, the Orbit in July followed by Kinokulture in September after introducing social distancing measures.

While Bridgnorth’s Reel cinema was previously given £9,997.

The Culture Recovery Fund for independent cinemas is part of the Government’s cultural recovery package providing £1.57 billion in total and is allocated to venues by the British Film Institute (BFI).

Meanwhile, Weston Park has been given £96,439 from the fund – which is distributed by Arts Council England – to help prepare for the reopening of its house and park.

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