More than 200 independent cinemas across England will share in £16 million in new funding to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
The allocation is from the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund operated by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which is supporting venues such as museums, cinemas and theatres.
The latest grants will be allocated to 202 cinemas and administered by the British Film Institute.
The regional breakdown of the funding is as follows:
|Yorkshire & The Humber||£2,267,101|
More applications from independent cinemas are also currently being assessed with a further round of £14 million in grants to be awarded in the new year.
Eligible cinemas were able to apply for safety grants, to help venues meet the immediate costs of implementing covid-secure measures to protect staff and audiences, and larger business sustainability grants to help stabilise sites financially.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP said: “The magic of film is such an important part of the festive period and this investment will help protect our independent cinemas so they’re around for many Christmases to come.”
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BFI chief executive Ben Roberts added: “Across the country, local independent cinemas are hubs and lifelines for communities and often the only form of culture and entertainment.
“From educational programmes and workshops for young people, to screenings for the elderly and audiences with specialised needs, these cinemas play such an important role in people’s lives.
“The Culture Recovery Fund will mean that many of these cinemas survive the current crisis and go on to play a vital role in the recovery of local economies and communities, bringing people together to offer joy, solace and the magic of the big screen.”
Cinemas can remain open over the Christmas period in tier 1 and tier 2 areas but must close in tiers 3 and 4.
Richard Parkes is the second generation at the helm of Parkway Cinemas, with Cleethorpes’ eight screen venue the largest independent in the UK. It is joined by venues in Beverley, Barnsley and Louth, and has received a £250,000 lifeline.
He said: “This will really help us try to ride out these tough times, and we’re so thankful.
“This has been an appalling year for everybody in the cinema industry.
“Combined with the extension of the furlough scheme, this grant is a genuine lifeline for us after a totally devastating year.
“Quite honestly it’s some news we really, really needed this Christmas.”
He said cinemas face a challenging time for at least another six months, if not longer.
“The way films are released to streaming or digital has changed the whole dynamics of the industry. Nobody is quite sure yet exactly what the future of cinema is going to be, but whatever it is, this funding support gives us the confidence that we’re going to be able to face it.”
Hit by the initial lockdown, it opened again in July, but was forced to close the doors again last month.
“We had to close Cleethorpes back in November, 16 years to the day we opened.
“Our cinema in Beverley was going to celebrate it’s fifth birthday last week, and our cinema in Louth will be 99 years old on Boxing Day, so we’ve missed all of those celebrations.
“This funding means that we now know we’ll be ready to welcome back our audiences next year, and celebrate these birthdays for many more years to come.
“This is going to be a very strange Christmas for everyone, but hopefully next year will be much, much brighter for us all.”
Coining a famous movie line, he added: “We’ll be back.”
Covid is not the cinema terminator, it would appear.