Wells Maltings has been awarded a grant of £95,000 as part of the Government’s bid to help the arts and cultural industry face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and to provide for a more sustainable future.
Wells Maltings is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations in the country to receive urgently needed support. £257m of investment has been announced today as part of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) programme, administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sectors will be announced in the coming weeks.
The grant of £95,000 – one of three grants to North Norfolk organisations announced today – provides a vital lifeline to the area’s newest cultural venue, which opened after substantial refurbishment in 2018, with over 75,000 through its doors in the first eighteen months.
The CRF funding will replace much of the income lost as a result of lockdown and reduced capacity due to social distancing, which has seen auditorium seating numbers cut by 65%. The funding ensures that the venue can continue to operate safely, develop its public plans (including work with regional artists and theatre makers), and support its local community through its facilities and programmes.
Wells Maltings director Simon Daykin says, “We are thrilled – it’s a true lifeline in these stormy times, and allows us to keep on doing what we can to entertain, delight and support our audiences and community. We know how important entertainment and the arts in all their forms are to public wellbeing, and together with the huge generosity of our community through our recent Road to Recovery campaign, this much needed funding ensures that the show in Wells will go on.”
Tim Lankester, the Chair of Trustees at Wells Maltings, comments:
“The £95,000 in funding which Wells Maltings has been awarded by the Arts Council under the first round of its Culture Recovery Fund programme is fantastic news.
One third of the organizations which applied for funding had their applications turned down. We feel very fortunate to have been successful. But our success is also a reflection of the fact that, thanks to the tremendous commitment of our staff, our volunteers, our patrons and other donors, and the support of our audiences and community groups, that we have in less than three years achieved a position in the East Anglian arts and culture scene that the Arts Council could not ignore.
The Covid pandemic has had a severe impact on Wells Maltings’ revenues. It is great that we are now operating again when there are many venues across Norfolk which are still unable to re-open. The cafe has been busier than ever over the past couple of months. Our revenues are slowly recovering; but because of continued social distancing requirements, and in spite of the encouraging return of our audiences and visitors, they will continue for many months to be significantly below what we had been expecting prior to the pandemic.
The £95,000 emergency funding will help fill the gap and give us the confidence – provided that public venues in Norfolk aren’t subjected again to more stringent restrictions – to mount an increasingly full programme of film, music, drama and exhibitions for the Wells community and for our visitors from beyond.”