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Culture Recovery Fund offers £1.5m to Cambridge museums and venues

More than £1.5million has been awarded from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to museums, arts and music venues in Cambridge.

Flaming Lips live at The Junction, July 23, 2018
Flaming Lips live at The Junction, July 23, 2018

Over 2,000 arts organisations across the country are benefitting from a share of £261million as part of round two of the government’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The Museum of Cambridge said its grant of £29,505 was a real lifeline. It will provide a much-needed boost to the museum’s finances and, together with a successful fundraising campaign, ensure the museum is able to reopen after lockdown.

The museum has lost almost a full year of opening and income from admissions, which made up 84 per cent of its 2019 revenue. Lucy Walker, chair of trustees, said: “We’re delighted to receive this much-needed support from the Arts Council.

"This will make a big difference to our reopening plans over the next few months and greatly increase what we’re able to offer our visitors. Along with our successful fundraising campaign, this funding will also play a big role in securing the museum’s financial sustainability.”

Last November, faced with the risk of closure, the museum launched a fundraising campaign to secure its future. This campaign aimed to raise £50,000 and had already raised around £30,000 before the award of the CRF grant, which will also help the museum to organise online events such as the popular Cambridge Talks series.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner added: “This is wonderful news for the Museum of Cambridge, and for the people of Cambridge and the surrounding area. Like many other arts, culture and heritage organisations, the museum has been devastated by the impact of Covid-19 and the associated restrictions, and like many venues was at risk of closure.

"This funding boost, along with all the generous donations provided by members of the public, gives the museum a fighting chance of survival. I am thoroughly looking forward to visiting the museum again when it reopens safely in the summer.”

The Museum of Cambridge
The Museum of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge, which runs eight museums and cultural institutions including the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Sedgwick Museum, the Zoology Museum, Kettle’s Yard and the ADC Theatre, is another beneficiary of the CRF.

It received £589,376, while The Botanic Garden, also run by the university, received £85,100 – though its grant came from the Heritage Fund, rather than the Arts Council, and has not been taken out of the £589,376. It is not yet clear how much each of the arts institutions will receive.

Meanwhile, Ely Museum has received a grant of £27,644 from the fund. It will be used to support the museum as it prepares to reopen to the public following a £2.2m redevelopment project which began in September, 2019.

Music venues, such as The Flying Pig, have also benefitted. Cambridge Junction has received £248,083 to help it recover and reopen. The team at Cambridge Junction are hoping that restrictions on live events will be lifted as planned on May 17 for socially distanced shows, and on June 21 for larger gigs.

Flaming Lips live at The Junction, July 23, 2018
Flaming Lips live at The Junction, July 23, 2018

Cambridge Junction’s artistic director, Matt Burman, said: “Everyone at Cambridge Junction – our team, trustees, our resident companies, young participants and associate artists – are relieved and grateful for the funding we will receive from the Culture Recovery Fund.”

Over at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, the staff there were "delighted" to receive a second grant of £459,907 from the CRF. In October 2020, the theatre was awarded £985,000 as part of the CRF’s first tranche, which secured its immediate future.

This second round of funding will enable the theatre to pay ongoing running costs of the building, continue to support staff as they plan for the theatre’s imminent reopening, and ensure that operations are Covid-secure as audiences are welcomed back.

Dave Murphy, chief executive at Cambridge Arts Theatre, said: “Everyone at Cambridge Arts Theatre is delighted and relieved to receive a further tranche of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund. It has been a difficult year for the industry, but this vital grant will enable us to lift the curtain and launch our Summer 2021 season.

"We are working very hard to bring the theatre-goers of Cambridgeshire a fantastic, varied and entertaining season and cannot wait to welcome our audiences back to our theatre once again.”

Cambridge Arts Theatre
Cambridge Arts Theatre

Cambridge Arts Theatre is one of more than 2,700 cultural and heritage organisations across the country receiving urgent support. So far, the government has financed over £1.2billion across grants, capital

and repayable finance from the CRF, administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The CRF forms part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s #HereForCulture campaign to protect jobs, restart performances and create work for freelancers.

Elsewhere in the region, the Royston Picture Palace and the Saffron Screen in Saffron Walden have each received grants of £6,970. The grant is from a £400m pot held back last year to ensure the fund could continue to help organisations in need.

The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute. More than £800m in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations.

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