West London culture venues receive government money

Images above: Lyric theatre, Hammersmith; Chiswick House; Watermans arts centre, Brentford

Several local cultural organisations are among those to have received bail out money from the government to help them through the next phase of the pandemic.

Chiswick House

Chiswick House as been awarded £308,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House and Gardens, said she was “thrilled” to receive the award. “This money is really going to make a huge difference”.

The money will enable them to reopen the house to the public next April and to re-engage with local schools and communities through their community garden and by providing outdoor spaces for learning. Read more about what the money means for Chiswick House here.

Image above: Lyric Hammersmith production of Aladdin in 2016 

Lyric, Hammersmith

The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith has also received money – £377.361 to get them through the winter period, till March. The theatre is currently dark and, like Chiswick House, they have recently made about 20% staff redundant.

A spokeswoman for the Lyric told The Chiswick Calendar that the building itself was very expensive to maintain, even when closed, but as well as covering core costs, they hope this money will enable them to start delivering some activities for the public again.

To put the sum they’ve been given in some sort of context, the cost of keeping the building, even closed, including staff (without furlough payments) and costs such as utility bills and insurance, is about £250,000 a month. The Lyric has recently launched a fundraising initiative, details of which you can see here.

Watermans, Brentford

Watermans arts centre, Brentford has received £144,669. Like the Lyric, they received the full amount for which they applied, which they say will enable them to plan with confidence for 2021. The west London arts centre comprises a theatre, gallery, cinema and creative workshops and courses in its venue.

Jan Lennox, Director of Watermans said:

“This was such fantastic news to receive. It is recognition of the incredibly hard work our team has put in to respond to the pandemic creatively in order to keep serving our communities – launching digital programmes, reopening at the earliest possible opportunity and constantly innovating and diversifying the programme. This funding will allow us to look forward with much more confidence and take the risks necessary to keep bringing the best arts and culture to our communities and support artists to do that”.

Riverside Studios, Hammersmith

The Riverside Studios, which only reopened this time last year having been totally rebuilt on a new site, next to Hammersmith Bridge, also received a government hand out. They got a grant of £850,000. Interim Executive Director Tony Lankester said:

“We are extremely grateful to the Arts Council England, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury for helping us to keep our doors open! This is a lifeline for us during this difficult time.

“Great government intervention to support the arts (and specifically Riverside) while the world is such an uncertain place.
“Deep breaths as the light at the end of the tunnel gets a little brighter….”

Image above: Watermans river festival from a few years ago

“Vital boost” for cultural organisations

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help cultural organisations face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. These three organisations are among1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support in the first round of grants.

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. 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” he said.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick House awarded £308,000 from Culture Recovery Fund

See also: Lyric Hammersmith sets £50,000 fundraising target to reopen

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