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Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust has been awarded £666,457 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Link4Life is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

These funds will help secure the future of Rochdale’s best-loved venues, including Middleton Arena, Heywood Civic Theatre, Touchstones Museum & Gallery.

Link4Life CEO, Andy King, said “We’re relieved to receive this investment in what has been a really difficult time for culture in Rochdale. Prior to the outbreak of COVID, Link4Life was enjoying a great season, and was proud to stage the first West End production, Frankenstein, at Middleton Arena and to partner with the Natural History Museum and Rochdale Borough Council to bring Dippy on Tour to the Borough. Due to COVID, cultural venues across the country closed and whilst we have been able to partly reopen Touchstones Museum & Gallery, we remain unable to present live performances at Middleton Arena and Heywood Civic Centre, reducing income from ticket sales and trading. Now more than ever the Trust is committed to working with partners in Rochdale and beyond, to ensure that our communities can enjoy access to great arts and culture.

Chris Clarkson MP for Middleton and Heywood said “I can think of few worthier or stronger cases than this organisation, recognised throughout the creative, business and third sectors for its work

Tony Lloyd MP for Rochdale said “Link4Life is of unique importance. This is a critical opportunity to strengthen culture in Rochdale.”

Rochdale Writer and Director Parvez Qadir said “As a born and bred Rochdalian second generation from Pakistani immigrants who have made Rochdale their home for the last 50 years, I would not be able to carry out work which has been critically received nationally and won awards, if culture was not alive and engrained in the DNA of Rochdale.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”