Winter Gardens receives lifeline grant from government’s Cultural Recovery Fund

Blackpool Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom Chandeliers - Images courtesy of Jill Reidy
Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Winter Gardens Blackpool have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund This is the first major round of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The Winter Gardens Blackpool is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. The organisations will share £103 million to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

As part of the funding package, the Winter Gardens is set to receive up to £846k which will be used to protect and preserve the venue during these challenging times and to contribute towards the essential running costs whilst restrictions on mass gatherings remain in place.

Winter Gardens Open Day 2018 - CJGriffiths Photography

Michael Williams, Blackpool Entertainment Company Managing Director said: “The Winter Gardens has been pivotal to the development of Blackpool, providing a host of entertainment and cultural events that have come to define the town’s heritage offer. We are most grateful for the DCMS funding as it allows us to continue this tradition through these very challenging times. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in March, the Winter Gardens Blackpool closed its doors in line with Government instructions but has only recently reopened with a limited programme of events in line with social distancing. The support of the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund does ensure that we are able to continue planning for the future to ensure that we are in a position to reopen fully once restrictions are lifted. We recognise that a visit to the Winter Gardens Blackpool does make a difference to our visitors and by working with key partners including Blackpool Council, we are able deliver a diverse range of shows and events designed to create memorable experiences.“

Opened in 1878 the Winter Gardens Blackpool is an integral part of the local and regional economy. Pre-pandemic hosting over 500 events each year across its 12 unique venues, welcoming over 1.3 million guests from over 60 different nations contributing well in excess of £60 million for the local economy.

Winter Gardens Film Festival 2018 - CJGriffiths Photography

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.

Detail from the Baronial Hall, Winter Gardens Open Day 2018 CJGriffiths Photography

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time. Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.  But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”

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