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

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced details of more than 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.”

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 Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle has received a grant of £704,161 to help the organisation recover and reopen.

A large proportion of the funding will go into the museum’s reserves. The rest will be used in a number of areas, including undertaking major audience development analysis, which will allow the museum to reach potential new audiences, building a classroom and shelters in the grounds.

Bowes Museum director Adrian Jenkins said: “This money is a very welcome and fantastic boost to the Museum’s reopening plans.

"It will help us be more financially secure in the longer term, develop detailed audience research to reach out to potential new visitors, expand our use of the parkland by creating an outdoor classroom and shelters allowing us more opportunities to deliver exciting events for all ages in the grounds and increase the number of outreach activities we put on in the community.”

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 such as 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.

In the North, Sage Gateshead has received a loan of £3m from the fund. In March 2020, when Sage Gateshead closed its doors, 80 per cent of its income was affected, and it faced a £10m 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.

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