Cheshire East’s cultural sector has been boosted by more than £175,000 of new funding from the Arts Council.
It follows several successful grant applications by local bodies to Arts Council England’s emergency fund.
Cheshire East Council’s cultural economy team provided support for many of the borough’s cultural organisations in their successful applications to obtain a cash injection of more than £175,000 in total.
The council managed further funding of £155,000 through grants and rate relief, achieved through its business support programmes.
This funding provides a lifeline to arts organisations, museums, festivals and events who have been hit hard due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In many cases, programmes of activities have been made virtual, with digital online resources, to continue to engage with audiences. This will create new opportunities for residents to engage with arts, heritage and entertainment across the borough – either with distancing measures in place or through digital and online content.
Examples of organisations supported include:
● Wild Rumpus – A range of cultural events and festivals within the borough and beyond, including the Just So Festival, in Congleton. The programme of talks, open to arts, heritage and tourism organisations and professionals across the borough, has moved to online broadcasts. This will enable everyone to share learning, develop practice and stay connected virtually. Visit: https://wildrumpus.org.uk/the-culture-sessions/;
● Macclesfield Museums - These include the Silk Museum, Old Sunday School Heritage Centre, Paradise Mill and West Park Museum. The Old Sunday School is being sustained and will invest in opportunities for local creatives to connect with local communities through storytelling and digital engagement. Visit: https://macclesfieldmuseums.co.uk/;
● Macclesfield Barnaby Festival – Under normal circumstances would have delivered its ten-year anniversary parade and a programme of commissions and collaborations with established artists and local communities to bring Macclesfield to life. Residents are now encouraged to engage in a new digital programme via online workshops and livestream broadcasts whilst the live activity is being rescheduled for when safety restrictions allow. Visit: https://barnabyfestival.org.uk/
● Clonter Farm Music Trust – It has secured funding for digital outreach and keeping theatre facilities available which means they are able to host digital masterclasses, filmed performances and work with artists to create digital ‘musical teas’ from their homes for older audiences to enjoy. The trust is also developing mobile musical theatre shows and workshops for schools using theatre packs which complement KS2 maths and literacy. For more info visit: https://www.clonter.org/;
● Spare Parts Festival at Traction Crewe - Offers street-arts-linked online activity and performance linked to a transport, science and a motion theme. Residents can look out for coding and creative fun available online on 4 July via: https://www.facebook.com/TrActionCrewe/ and on Spare Parts At Home at: https://sparepartsfestival.co.uk/spareparts-at-home/
Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for culture, said: “We are delighted at this much needed cash injection for the cultural and creative sector in Cheshire East. The sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and many events and performances that have been months, if not years in the planning, have sadly been unable to go ahead due to social distancing restrictions.
“This funding has taken events and performances to a new era, allowing the production needed to take them online and for residents of Cheshire East to be able to enjoy them from the comfort of their own home in the virtual realm.
“The online events are not just a wonderful way to escape everyday life, they are also helpful to the many children across the borough who are being home schooled.”
Information and reminders about the events will feature on Cheshire East Council’s social media pages. Please follow @CheshireEastCouncil on Facebook and @CheshireEast on Twitter to keep up-to-date.