CULTURAL and creative organisations across the region are to receive a share of £400million as part of a vital financial boost from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced details of over 2,700 organisations being

offered millions of pounds in grants and loans to help the culture and heritage sector reopen and recover from the pandemic

Among the recipients is Darlington Hippodrome, which will use its grant to offset losses from cancelled productions, retain jobs, secure the long-term future of the theatre and secure the purchase of new state-of-the-art cinema screening equipment.

Heather Tarran-Jones, the Hippodrome’s director of programming and development, said: “We are delighted to receive news of this second Arts Council England grant.

“The last 12 months has been a challenging time for the sector and we are very grateful to receive support from central government. We are coming to the end of a difficult journey and this funding will assist in the transition back to a sustainable business model.

“However, what we really need is the return of our fantastic audiences purchasing tickets to future shows to breathe life and energy back into the Hippodrome welcoming the return of live entertainment.”

Sage Gateshead has received a loan of £3million from the fund.

In March 2020, when Sage Gateshead closed its doors, 80 per cent of its income was affected, and it faced a £10million gap.

It is weathering the storm thanks to generous philanthropy and vital government support through the Culture Recovery Fund, which has helped it safeguard its building, find new ways to keep live music going digitally, and support artists and musicians.

Abigail Pogson, managing director of Sage Gateshead, said: “We cannot wait to get back to making music, contributing to the North-East’s recovery by bringing people together, supporting health and wellbeing, and nurturing the great talent in our region.

“We have seen in the past year that together, we are here for culture, and we can secure the future of live music in the North-East.”

Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal has received a grant of £26,200, which is on top of £52,960 received during the first round of funding in October last year.

“We are extremely grateful for this very timely injection of funding,” said Clare Allen, chief executive of The Georgian Theatre Royal.

“The theatre has been incredibly fortunate to receive a number of generous grants and donations during the past 12 months but these have largely been for specific projects or capital works.

“The latest grant will help cover day-to-day running costs as well as kick-starting our cultural activities in the months ahead.”

The Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance (BIFF) has received a grant of £40,900 from the fund.

During a pre-pandemic year, Billingham would be looking forward to throwing open its doors to thousands of performers and visitors from all over the world including countries like Chile China, Japan, Martinique, Mexico, North Cyprus and Russia but the streets, stages and venues have fallen silent due to the coronavirus.

“The Culture Recovery Fund is quite literally a lifesaver for The Arts,” said Olga Maloney, Artistic Director of Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance.

The Festival will be using the money to reinvigorate the style, appearance, creative content, and branding of the institutional event to help attract new audiences to its acclaimed headlining shows, educational workshops and enchanting street parades.

She added: “It has been an emotional experience not being able to stage our festival for two successive years.

“We have had to adapt and use technology to keep the momentum and enthusiasm for international dance alive during the pandemic, and this has been achieved by moving the activities online and reaching out to our performers and audience members, online.

“We are confident that some kind of normality is within reach and we will be ready to welcome everybody back to Billingham with open arms, and hopefully help to secure the foundations of the Festival for years to come.”

Some of the other organisations across the region to receive funds include: Beamish Museum, The Bowes Museum, TIN Arts, North Music Trust’ Little Inventors Worldwide Ltd, Rural Arts North Yorkshire, Ripon Museum Trust and Castle Howard Estate Ltd.

The Customs House in South Shields is due to receive a further £125,000 and 1,400 year old Bamburgh Castle is awarded of £137,400 to help the castle prepare for reopening and cover essential maintenance of this historic property.

Jade Thirlwall Customs House Fellow and Little Mix star said: “The Customs House has a special place in my heart so I’m really delighted this grant will help secure its future.

“It’s so important for South Tyneside and it’s wonderful to see our arts centres being able to work towards opening again.”

Mr 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.”