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Good Friday’s announcement that Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, is to receive a further grant of £487,482 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has been described as significant to recovery by the organisation.  

The funding, delivered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is to cover the period from April to June where the venue is still unable to open fully and will help the organisation recover and reopen. 

“This is the best news and undeniably significant to our recovery,” says Chief Executive Elspeth McBain. “It comes at a crucial time as Lighthouse looks forward to welcoming back the audiences and artists we have missed for so long. 

“In line with arts venues all over the country Lighthouse paused live performance in January, but we continued our work online and with artists behind closed doors. Now, with the support of the Culture Recovery Fund, for which we are enormously grateful, we can take a giant leap forwards and prepare to do what we do best – presenting world class performance and cultural experiences and bringing people back together again. I can’t wait to see artists on our stages, films in our cinema and audiences back in the venue. 

Lighthouse will open its doors to the public on Tuesday 18 May when the Cinema, Beacon café and gallery spaces will open and, following the success of outdoors performances last summer, a second season of Lighthouse OUTSIDE will begin at the end of May. Until 21 June performances will be to socially distanced audiences at maximum 50 per cent of full capacity. 

Tickets can be bought online, over the phone, or from 18 May in person at the venue. 

New for 2021, Screen On Stage will see the theatre space transformed into a cinema, enabling Lighthouse to show cultural events from nationally important arts companies as well as mainstream films in high definition on a large screen with state-of-the-art surround sound. 

“Lighthouse hasn’t stood still in lockdown, far from it,” adds Elspeth. “We have used our spaces creatively, welcoming artists to develop new work and expanding our digital capabilities, but this new award from the CRF is a life saver especially as we have been closed for so much longer than we ever imagined we would be.  

“It means we can bring forward some exciting new developments and ensure Lighthouse can look forward with renewed confidence to playing an important role in the cultural landscape of the region and the UK, as well as to providing our immediate community with the arts and entertainment and community engagement work it needs and absolutely should have.” 

More than £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.  

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, says: “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. 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.” 

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, adds: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.” 

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot that was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.   

Published 2 April 2021