£2.3m in grants to help Covid recovery for Norwich arts

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, preparing to open the theatre with all new C

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Almost £2.5m in grants will be paid to arts, film and heritage groups across Norwich, the government has confirmed.

Thousands of organisations across the UK will receive cash from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS) Culture Recovery Fund to help them survive and recover from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes 43 groups in Norfolk and six more in Waveney, totalling £4,750,008 in grants. Half of that (£2,306,363) will go to groups in the city.

In addition, Norwich Theatre Royal is one of 23 organisations across the country to receive repayable finance from the government, in the form of a £2.5m loan.

Hit West End shows are heading to Norwich Theatre Royal Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich Theatre Royal has received a £2.5m loan from the government. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The theatre's chief executive Stephen Crocker said: "The fantastic support we have received so far through grants and donations, alongside the actions we have taken ourselves to ensure our future, have meant that we can survive.

"This additional and different form of financial support through the Culture Recovery Fund will not only ensure we continue to survive but, as we move beyond this difficult period, will also allow us to thrive.

"The last year has been an incredibly difficult one and I am under no illusion that the next year will necessarily be any easier as we work to tread the fine line of recovery, renewal and regrowth.

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"However, with this support and the steadfast loyalty and dedication of our audiences and communities, I am more optimistic than ever before for the future."

The Forum, a community building that houses restaurants, BBC East, Norwich Library, and information

The Forum in Norwich. - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

While the Theatre Royal has been given a loan, grants have been dished out to other venues in the city such as Epic Studios, The Garage and Norwich Puppet Theatre.

The Forum Trust will be given more than £220k, which chief executive Tim Bishop said will help it to bring the city centre "back to life".

He said: "This funding is a real boost for us and for the wider city economy. The Forum is a unique building and we’re proud that our events, run in partnership with other local organisations, draw people into the city and help create the vibrancy that makes Norwich so special."

Executive director of Norwich BID Stefan Gurney added: "It's another welcome boost for the city alongside the work already done by the Norwich Business Improvement District and all of it will help to bring the city centre back to life as soon as it is safe to do so with a great range of events being planned.

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich Business Improvement District Picture: Sonya Duncan

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich Business Improvement District (BID). - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"All of that will help the shops and businesses after a very difficult year."

Norfolk's biggest recipient is the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), which organises the Royal Norfolk Show and is set to receive more than £500k from the government's pot.

It will get £474,900, along with another £100k specifically for Norfolk Showground Ltd, which manages the events venue to the west of Norwich.

RNAA managing director Mark Nicholas said the funding would secure its future and culminate in the return of the Royal Norfolk Show in 2022.

The Royal Norfolk Show. Picture: Ian Burt

The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, organiser of the Royal Norfolk Show, is one of the recipients of the grants. - Credit: Ian Burt

He said: "The last 18 months have been extremely challenging for organisations such as ourselves and this grant will enable the RNAA and Norfolk Showground Ltd to power forward in the months ahead as we welcome visitors to Norfolk Showground.

"This funding will help us invest in the Showground site, deliver the roll-out of summer and autumn cultural programme and enhance our systems and process to improve our resilience in dealing with changes as a consequence of the pandemic."

The grants, which total more than £300m across the UK, have been awarded through several bodies including Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film institute.

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.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has urged football clubs who have furloughed staff, like Norwich Cit

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said the grants have 'helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced'. - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images

"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."

Full list of Norwich organisations to benefit from Culture Recovery Fund

  • Curious Directive – £55,052
  • Epic Studios – £198,900
  • Figs in Wigs – £45,350
  • Frozen Light – £25,000
  • Galley Beggar Press – £34,000
  • National Centre for Writing – £85,389
  • New Heritage Solutions CIC – £20,300
  • NORCA and Sistema – £62,500
  • Norfolk and Norwich Festival Trust – £77,250
  • Norfolk Museums Service – £228,443
  • Norfolk Showground Ltd – £100,000
  • Norwich Puppet Theatre – £42,000
  • Norwich Theatre Royal – £2.5m (loan)
  • Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association – £474,900
  • Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts – £305,725
  • The Cathedral of St John the Baptist Trust – £95,700
  • The Forum Trust – £224,005
  • The Garage Trust – £54,974
  • The Oak Circus Centre – £26,875
  • Voodoo Daddy's Showroom – £120,000
  • Young Norfolk Arts Trust – £30,000