Portsmouth's 'cultural gems' bag £1.1m in government arts cash grants

PORTSMOUTH’S ‘cultural gems’ have bagged more than £1.1m in ‘lifesaving’ grants as part of a £1.57bn spending splurge.

By Tom Cotterill
Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:01 am

The cash has been dished out today as part of the government’s culture recovery fund to help struggling attractions recover from the financial fallout of the coronvirus pandemic.

More than £800m of the £1.57bn pot of cash has already been handed out to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and trusts dealing with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest bout of spending, announced by culture secretary Oliver Dowden today, has seen some 2,700 organisations benefiting from almost £400m in grants.

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Henry VIII's warship, the Mary Rose in Portsmouth. Photo by Olivia Harris/Getty Images

It’s hoped the cash will now help struggling sites like the Mary Rose reopen in the summer following months of closure, which has already cost the site millions in lost revenue.

Among the lucky winners announced today include the Mary Rose Trust, which runs Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth which clinched £327,652.

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Dominic Jones, chief executive the said: ‘The award from the culture recovery fund, delivered through Arts Council England, is a vital lifeline for the Mary Rose and will assist with the vast costs of keeping the ship and unique collection safe and on display for future generations.

Families pictured inside the Mary Rose Museum before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

‘Like many cultural and heritage organisations across the country the Mary Rose continues to be severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, but we cannot wait to reopen our world-class Museum in line with the government’s roadmap and when it is safe to do so.

‘We remain enormously grateful to the government for their continuing support and recognition as a cultural gem.’

Portsmouth culture boss, Councillor Steve Pitt welcomed the news and said: ‘This is fantastic news for the Mary Rose. It’s a globally important museum and provides a huge boost for Portsmouth’s tourism and is part of the cultural fabric of the city.

There was a boom for Portsmouth City Council's museum, which bagged £160,640.

A Christmas Carol at the Groundlings Theatre in Portsea in December 2020. Picture: Groundlings Theatre

Theatres on the island also benefitted, with the trust that run’s Southsea’ Kings Theatre being awarded £172,931 while the Groundlings was given a £32,582 grant.

Support was also given to live music venues in Portsmouth, with the Wedgewood Rooms, in Albert Road, Southsea, getting £73,686.

Concrete Music Limited was given £31,000 and events firm PK-UK Limited was awarded £45,554.

Performing arts company SSD Music Limited scooped the second-largest sum in the city, with a grant of £299,002.

in all, the city received £1,143,047 in cultural aid.

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.’

Elsewhere, Hampshire Culture Trust, which runs The Ashcroft and Westbury Manor Museum in Fareham and Gosport Gallery, was awarded £240,000.

Other sites to benefit locally include the Chichester Festival Theatre, which received £892,137.

The English Heritage Trust, which cares for 420 historic monuments, buildings, objects and places – including Titchfield Abbey and Fort Brockhurst near Gosport, will receive £23.4m to cover Covid-related losses and support investment in essential maintenance.

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