Babylon ARTS has been awarded £60,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future; the Culture Secretary has announced today.
Babylon ARTS is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
Babylon ARTS (operated by ADEC – Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire) has been initiating, supporting and delivering a huge range of arts and cultural opportunities in Ely, East Cambridgeshire and beyond for over 25 years. The organisation has overcome many challenges, including the total loss of local authority funding in 2014, but has risen to the challenges each time.
Prior to Covid-19, Babylon ARTS had seen growth in audience numbers at its independent cinema; a new large-scale creative skills development programme with schools across East Cambs and Fenland; a varied exhibition programme at the Babylon Gallery with over 20,000 visitors a year and strong partnership developments to increase arts opportunities in the area. The temporary closure of the Babylon Gallery and Ely Cinema, coupled with the uncertainty of future income in-light of Covid, threatened the charity’s future. The Culture Recovery Fund places Babylon ARTS firmly back on an even footing, ready to continue developing creativity and connecting people with arts and culture.
Claire Somerville, Babylon ARTS, Chief Executive said:
“Despite huge challenges, our team have worked hard during this period, to adapt and deliver creative opportunities, that have seen us trying new things and reaching new people. This work has been against a backdrop of uncertainty for our future and so it is with much relief that we can announce receipt of this funding which will boost our resilience, help us make improvements to our accessibility and diversity, provide artist opportunities and engage further with our community.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“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.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:
“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”