Telford’s community owned, independent cinema, Wellington Orbit, joins more than 200 independent cinemas across England which are being supported this Christmas with £16 million in grants from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. 202 cinemas have received funding so far from a £30 million pot allocated by the British Film Institute (BFI), on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the biggest ever single investment in this country’s cultural sectors. The cinema, which has seen its seating capacity almost halved and a number of film releases cancelled due to Covid, received £65,647 from the £16m fund.
Cinemas will be able to apply for another £14 million in grants in the new year as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The new round of funding is in addition to the £30 million already being allocated by the BFI. The BFI has been accepting applications and awarding grants to independent cinemas throughout the autumn.
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.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “As a Star Wars fan, I know there’s no better place to experience great films than in your local cinema and these grants will provide vital support for independent venues through Christmas and beyond.”
Phil Morris-Jones MBE, the chairman of the 800 member charitable society behind the venture said “ By enabling us to trade on a break-even basis despite the Covid restrictions in place, the Culture Recovery Fund award has respected the 5 years of hard work, money and emotion put in by so many people to get a trading premises while preserving our aspirations to fully reconvert the site into the all embracing arts centre our town deserves.”
Since being able to re-open the doors to film fans following on from two lockdowns, Wellington Orbit is currently running a programme of festive films as well as a popular Cults & Classics series.