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Rochdale-based Culture and Leisure Trust, Link4Life (Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust) has received a grant of £317,000 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen. 

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Link4Life in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

This award will enable the charity to gradually re-open and safely re-start exhibitions, performances and community delivery programmes at cultural venues including Touchstones Museum and Art Gallery, Middleton Arena and Heywood Civic Centre. It will enable new educational resources and programmes using the collections to be created for schools and will ensure local residents can look forward to an exciting programme of creative events and opportunities as we head towards the summer months and beyond.

Over £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, said:

“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.”

Darren Grice, Deputy CEO, Link4Life said:

“This investment is vital to enable us to safely reopen venues and welcome back audiences.  It also means we can begin the careful reintroduction of face to face community engagement programmes in the coming months and ensure local people remain at the heart of what we do and how we do it. Of course, all of this will only be possible because we will have the opportunity to invest in great talent and creativity.  Artists will be at the centre of our plans and we hope that, in our small way, we can help to rebuild a creative sector that can continue to provide so much benefit for so many”.

Mark Widdup, Director of Neighbourhoods, Rochdale Borough Council said:

“This is great news for our community. Reopening our cultural venues like Touchstones Museum and restarting our borough-wide community programmes offer an important opportunity to bring people from all walks of life back together following an unprecedented year of disruption”.

Gail Hopper, Director of Children’s Services, Rochdale Borough Council said:

“Link4Life plays a unique role in the Borough and I am delighted they have been successful in their application to the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund so that they may continue their important work in Cultural Education, and ensure the survival of the very successful programmes they deliver with our schools, children and families”.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“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 which 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.