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Cheltenham Trust awarded £419,127 in second round of government’s Culture Recovery Fund. #HereForCulture

The Cheltenham Trust has been awarded £419,127 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help the not for profit, independent charity recover and rebuild from the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it has a sustainable future.

The money will mitigate the impact of the significant loss of revenue, of more than £3 million, since the trust’s venues Cheltenham Town Hall, Pittville Pump Room, Leisure at Cheltenham, The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum and the Prince of Wales stadium had to close in March 2020 in line with government Covid19 restrictions.

The award will help to support the ongoing recovery of these iconic venues as they re-open in line with the government’s roadmap out of the pandemic, initially with limited capacities, until June.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including The Cheltenham Trust in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced. Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Louis Eperjesi, chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Cheltenham Trust, said:  “The Cheltenham Trust is delighted to have been awarded this lifeline that will help the Trust to continue to recover and rebuild from what has been the most challenging year it has faced.

“From the day the venues we manage were closed by the pandemic in March 2020, the Trust has adapted and repurposed to generate income and to survive. We recognised the opportunities our outdoor spaces presented at a time when being indoors was not permitted and we opened two new outdoor, takeaway cafes, the Heritage Café at Pittville Pump Room and the Garden Bar, alongside Cheltenham Town Hall. Both have been extremely popular and successful, so much so that the Heritage Café will become a permanent feature at the pump room.

“We’ve taken culture outside, and online, with free live music and entertainment, outdoor art trails and virtual exhibitions. Yesterday (April 1) a new offer of fifty different outdoor exercise classes opened at Leisure at Cheltenham bringing health and fitness to the community in a covid safe outdoor marquee environment until the centre is able to re-open and is permitted to host indoor exercise classes.

“We work in close partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council, our lead partner, to ensure the future sustainability of the iconic venues that we manage. We recognise the contribution that the venues and our services make to the cultural and leisure landscape of Cheltenham and the positive role that the Cheltenham Trust has in improving community wellbeing and the local economy, particularly as we recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

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