Shropshire arts venues share £1.25 million Covid recovery boost

Arts venues and organisations across Shropshire are to receive nearly £1.25 million in government grants in response to the coronavirus.

Albert's Shed in Telford
Albert's Shed in Telford

Eight businesses and organisations across the county are to receive a share of the £257 million Culture Recovery Fund, which has announced grants to more than 1,300 bodies across England.

Albert's Shed, which runs live music venues in Telford is the biggest recipient, receiving £580,000. The Shed also hosts theatre productions and comedy, and works closely with the BBC, Shrewsbury Business Improvement District and Telford & Wrekin Council in promoting live music in Shropshire.

The company has also forged links with the music department at Telford College and employs several students from the college on a part-time basis.

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The Hive arts centre in Shrewsbury, which runs programmes for vulnerable young people, is to receive £74,000, while Disability Arts Shropshire (Dash), also based in Shrewsbury, is to get £70,000.

Claverley-based Creation Live Events has been allocated £171,433, while Ludlow Assembly Rooms gets £97,250. The assembly rooms host a range of entertainments including live theatre, dance, comedy and music of all types, and has hosted live opera.

It also provides activities for the community including drama groups for young people, life and portrait classes, a photographic group, yoga, table tennis and spaces for meetings. The funding will be used for developing safe live performances working in partnership with the Ludlow Music Society.

Shrewsbury Folk Festival has been awarded £93,118, Wem Town Hall £83,165, and Shrewsbury-based Wildcard theatre group £74,085.

Thrilled

Kate Jennings, chief executive of The Hive, said she was thrilled that the charity would be getting the money.

"Thanks to this funding, The Hive will be able to work with more communities across the region as well as ensuring the venue continues to provide innovative cultural and creative events," she said.

"Like many other arts organisations and charities across the country, this year has been particularly challenging for us as we have not been able to run events, activities, and workshops that we would normally offer throughout the year.

"Thanks to this support, we are optimistic for the coming months and are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the venue safely."

During lockdown, Disability Arts Shropshire, developed an online introduction to art history course, and the 14-week pilot also created the ‘Navigate’ programme for young Disabled artists offering an alternative route into the arts.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the funding would protect arts venues, save jobs, and help the culture sector recover.

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation," he said.

“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.”

Peter Knott, Midlands director for Arts Council England, which is responsible for distributing the money, said: “We’re delighted the Culture Recovery Fund has enabled support for a wide range of arts and cultural sector companies across Shropshire.

“The government’s package is hugely welcome, providing much of the sector with resources to remain in business through to the spring."

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