The Wellington Orbit are proud recipients of the BFI FAN Covid-19 Resilience fund with thanks to the BFI Film Audience Network awarding funds from National Lottery.
The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) has allocated emergency funding to independent exhibitors across the UK through the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund. £1.3m National Lottery funding, plus a £150,000 contribution from the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund, has been made available to provide grants to those in critical financial need as they continue to face months of closure and uncertainty. BFI FAN – a unique collaboration of eight Film Hubs managed by leading film organisations across the UK – targeted the fund to help small and medium sized audience-facing organisations with a particular focus on venue-based exhibitors.
Ray Hughes, Board Director, Wellington Orbit, said: “We’re delighted and grateful for the BFI Resilience funding which will bolster our existing reserves and will enable us to prepare the cinema and cafe to accept film & coffee fans safely. It will also allow us to train some of our dedicated volunteers in the new way of working. We look forward to welcoming all our amazing volunteers and customers back to the Wellington Orbit soon”.
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences, BFI, said: “Redirecting National Lottery and Mayor of London funding to make emergency grants to our independent exhibitors has proved to be a lifeline, enabling our fantastic venues, cinemas and festivals across the UK to remain in business in the immediate term. However, it is clear that these vital and unique organisations, which are crucial to the rich cultural fabric of their local communities, are still in crisis. When allowed to reopen, safely implementing social distancing guidance will not only be logistically impossible for some, but many are also unlikely to cover their costs when operating at reduced capacity. Losing these exhibitors would be a huge cultural loss for UK audiences, so I am pleased FAN has been able to help them keep the lights on while we all face the oncoming challenges.”
The Fund has supported 130 FAN Members across the UK with awards ranging from £415 to £23,000 each. In the Midlands, the 13 awards include the Wellington Orbit in Telford, Shropshire, The Northern Light in Wirksworth, Light House in Wolverhampton, Regal Cinema in Melton Mowbray, and kinokulture in Oswestry, supporting exhibitors who often representing the only cultural offer in their local area. Helping to ensure they can survive is crucial, particularly to provide an offer to audiences to support wellbeing after a prolonged period of lockdown and isolation.
The Resilience Fund is part of a package of support the BFI has quickly responded with in order to support individuals, productions, organisations and businesses that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.
To learn more about the awards that have been given in the West Midlands, please visit Film Hub West Midlands website.