£250,000 pledged to support cultural organisations

A total of £250,000 has been pledged to cultural organisations in Westmorland and Furness through the council’s new Culture Recovery Support Fund.

Part of Westmorland and Furness Council’s Priority Investment Scheme for 2023/24, 10 organisations have been offered £22,500 each and one £25,000. All are designated Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations, recognised as key organisations delivering major programmes and events and representing an unrivalled cluster of cultural excellence in the north west of England, outside the metropolitan areas.

The 10 organisations are:

  • Art Gene;
  • Full of Noises;
  • Grizedale Arts;
  • Highlights Productions;
  • Kendal Brewery Arts;
  • Lakeland Arts;
  • Lakes Arts Festivals;
  • Signal Film and Media;
  • Theatre Factory;
  • Wordsworth Trust.

Eden Arts has been offered £25,000 specifically towards the costs of the Winter Droving Event in Penrith.

The investment will ensure people who live, work and visit Westmorland and Furness have continued access to the diverse and distinctive range of opportunities to be creative as well as enjoying the high-quality cultural experiences, programmes and events provided by our network of National Portfolio Organisations.

The one-off scheme is one of 14 projects representing £5m of priority investments for Westmorland and Furness for 2023/24 agreed by the council’s Cabinet. The projects reflect the new council’s key priorities for the area, including funding for local areas, biodiversity and nature, sustainable transport, social care, children, culture and education.

Cllr Virginia Taylor, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said: “The economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic is still being felt in the arts and cultural sector. During lockdowns our arts organisations showed incredible ingenuity and generosity, recreating their ‘offer’ for old and new audiences online and outdoors, often free of charge. They demonstrated their commitment to supporting the community’s health and wellbeing without direct reward.

“Now the cost of living crisis and energy price increases make it a continuing and difficult challenge for our arts organisations as they add to the vibrancy of our towns, to the visitor economy, to education and to the community.

“This fund goes some way towards helping, but I am conscious that this round of  grants won’t help every brilliant arts organisation. I truly wish there were more money available for this fund – but there will be other opportunities and together we’ll make Westmorland and Furness an even happier, buzzier, and a more creative place.”

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: “I really welcome this valuable support from Westmorland and Furness Council. People who live here are benefiting from having a council that prioritises culture and recognises the important role creativity has in supporting local economies and talent, health and wellbeing, and children and young people.

“On my recent visit I witnessed first-hand the brilliant creative activity taking place in Cumbria, as well as the value placed on the cultural sector by Westmorland and Furness Council. Culture and creativity are at the heart of the story they want to tell about living, working and studying here. Initiatives like the Culture Recovery Support Fund show they’re clearly committed to growing the cultural infrastructure across the region.”

National Portfolio Organisations are anchor venues and institutions that are the cultural bedrock of Westmorland and Furness, which deliver key programmes of work, major events, major projects, key cultural activities and key strategic partnership.


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