Lifeline for cinemas and visitor attractions


The Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced the final awards from the first round of the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

This latest round of funding includes £13.5m in kickstart grants awarded to projects to revive heritage sites across England and more than £5m to support independent cinemas.

£1,572,642 has been awarded to organisations in Yorkshire in this latest round of funding, building on more than £67m already awarded from the Culture Recovery Fund to organisations in the region.

The North York Moors Historic Railway Trust will receive £296,000 to restore key bridges that are integral to the region’s railway network stretching through the North York Moors National park.

The Thackray Museum, in Leeds, will benefit from £174,000 to restore the Grade II listed former workhouse building which houses the medical collection, which will also be the focus of refreshed displays.

£285,600 will keep the restoration and renewal of the Hyde Park Picture House – also in Leeds – the only remaining gas-lit cinema in the world, on track.

In addition, BFI have awarded £5m in grants to 33 cinemas, including two major independent companies operating cinemas across England.

Reel Cinemas have been awarded £1.5m to support 13 multiplexes, including screens at Wakefield and Hull, and the Light Cinema will benefit from a grant of more than £2.9m to stabilise 10 city-centre sites including its operations in Sheffield and Bradford.

KC Suri, head of Reel Cinemas, said: “It has been very important to us to pursue all opportunities to protect the jobs of every staff member at Reel Cinemas, and to enable the cinemas to reopen, when permitted, to continue to serve our communities.

“This is why we want to thank the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the BFI who have awarded us this grant from the Culture Recovery Fund.

“This vital funding will enable us to protect job security and to manage our business sustainability at this challenging time.”

Keith Pullinger, deputy chairman and founder at The Light Cinemas, said: “We want to thank everyone at the BFI and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for supporting us through the process to receive a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund.

“Covid-19 has devastated our finances and this grant is essential to protect our future and ensure our survival.

“There is still a lot of work to do, but we now have a platform to start rebuilding our business from.

“Our landlords and suppliers will need to play their part but this will help protect the jobs of the 220 people who are employed at our cinemas.

“We look forward to delighting our guests once more when we reopen all our sites later this year.”