A DARLINGTON theatre has received £499,304 from the second round of Government's culture recovery fund which will help them through "challenging times."

Darlington Hippodrome is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of culture organisations across the country including Darlington Hippodrome which will help 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.

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.

The second round of awards made is set to help organisations look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery.

Oliver Dowden, culture secretary, 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."

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 twelve 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.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of 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