We’re pleased at the news of a £1.57 billion rescue package for the arts, culture and heritage sector to help weather the impact of coronavirus. Even though we’ve been able to steadily begin the journey to reopening, we are still facing a lot of difficulties and rely on all parts of the cultural industry to deliver on our mission. Although we are still yet to see the details of the package, this support will help ensure more venues, artists and companies can survive this crisis and we welcome the recognition from the government of the financial and social contribution arts and culture makes.

As one of the places where many award-winning and acclaimed creatives began their journey we also rely on a network of hugely talented freelancers from stage managers to producers and performance-makers. Even though we’re far from a West End theatre, these venues are part of the same delicate ecosystem, with many dedicated staff working to bring the magic of theatre and performance to audiences.

However, we’re not just talking about theatre. Culture is enjoyed in more places than just an auditorium and there are more than just jobs at stake. The arts and culture feed into every part of our lives – from street parties and carnivals to your favourite TV shows, nativity plays, pantos and arts and crafts clubs.

We’ve been doing everything within our means during this time to support our community, with a new radio show, youth projects, gardening sessions  and handing over creative control to our community by inviting local people to come up with ideas we can fund as part of Pizza and Pitches.

Our Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Gavin Barlow has also been central to the campaign to put arts centres at the heart of the recovery plan and last week called for the government not to overlook the contribution we can make in kickstarting the cultural industry’s recovery as well as revitalising our local area and promoting employment opportunities for young people in a post-COVID world.

Although it is our intention to get fully back up and running as soon as we can do safely, even in light of this week’s announcement, the future is far from certain and we still have many hurdles to face in order to survive. For now however, we remain cautiously optimistic and will continue to advocate for our local community and use our unique position in the cultural space to enable everyone to create and connect with the arts.

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