UK offers o400 mn to aid culture’s Covid recovery

Publish: 8:51 PM, April 3, 2021 | Update: 8:51:PM, April 3, 2021

LONDON,  – Britain is to offer hundreds of millions of pounds in grants to aid the recovery of cultural venues and heritage sites hit by the pandemic, the government announced on Friday.

Some 2,700 organisations including the Glastonbury music festival will benefit from the grants which amount to o400 million ($550 million and 470 million euros), the ministry of culture said in a statement.

The money is part of a o1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund set up by the government to help the ailing sector survive with venues shuttered amid restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus. Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said the fund has already “helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced”.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors,” he added. Under government plans for easing restrictions, sites such as museums, theatres and cinemas will not reopen until May 17 at the earliest. Beneficiaries of the new grants include the National Football Museum in Manchester, the Royal Shakespeare Company and a number of independent cinemas and theatres.

The English Heritage Trust, which cares for historic monuments, will receive o23.4 million to cover Covid-related losses and support investment in essential maintenance.

Theatre and film stars Judi Dench, Julie Walters, Hugh Bonneville and Stephen Fry have all welcomed the funding. Because of coronavirus restrictions, Glastonbury Festival organisers said Wednesday a virtual event would be streamed online in May after being forced to cancel performances to audiences for the second year in a row.

Britain, one of the countries the worst hit by the pandemic in the world, has recorded nearly 127,000 deaths from Covid and 4,350,266 cases. However, daily positive tests have fallen steadily in recent weeks amid a succesful vaccination campaign.