An emergency grant of £255,038 for Lighthouse has been announced today (Tuesday 7 July) by Arts Council England and confirms the short-term survival of Poole’s centre for the arts. 

"After so many weeks of uncertainty and with no information as to when venues can open for live performance this funding is an absolute lifeline and keeps us in business – for now,” says Lighthouse Chief Executive Elspeth McBain.  

National Portfolio Organisations and Creative People and Places consortia that were eligible were informed today if their applications had been successful. 

"This money will support Lighthouse until the autumn, by which time we hope to be able to partially reopen our wonderful building,” adds Elspeth. “We are planning new ways of operating so that we can use our spaces creatively until the time that we can welcome back the audiences we have missed so much during this time. 

“It won’t be business as usual, but we can now see a positive future. The government’s rescue package announced yesterday will further support arts and culture and is hugely welcome. We are looking forward to receiving the details as to how and when this support will be available. 

“After an increasingly bleak few weeks, this is the best news we could have hoped for and we are utterly relieved that Lighthouse now has every chance of continuing to provide our community with the arts and entertainment and community engagement work that our town and region needs and absolutely should have. 

Lighthouse plans to publish an interim programme of works for the autumn within the next few weeks and will make a decision about pantomime later this month. 

The funding is part of a £160m package the Arts Council has made available to the culture sector in England during the crisis, which also included £20m for creative practitioners and freelancers and £50m for cultural organisations outside its national portfolio. 

"This fund is not about portfolio building," says Darren Henley, the Arts Council's Chief Executive. "It’s in essence an intervention fund – a pot of last resort, designed only to buy time. Ideally, we would not have to use all of the allocated £90m for this emergency period, because we anticipate that bigger investments will be necessary later to help the sector reopen.  

"But ultimately, we’re trusting everyone to be unselfish, and to act individually in the best interests of the whole." 

Published 14 July 2020