FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SATURDAY 17th OCTOBER 2020

Wycombe Arts Centre receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Wycombe Arts Centre has been awarded a grant as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Wycombe Arts Centre is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced today. This follows £257 million awarded earlier in the week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Wycombe Arts Centre is the community arts centre and creative hub for High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. A registered charity, it’s been serving High Wycombe and the surrounding areas since 2010 by hosting arts, theatre and music events in its cosy Café Space and magnificent converted Victorian Church Space.

The Arts Centre is also a hub for local creatives and has been involved in a number of community projects including the street gallery on Desborough Road and the White Hart St. Mural in the town centre. During lockdown, partner charity Social Link – which helps to foster independence and social inclusion amongst adults with learning disabilities – worked with funding from the Rothschild Foundation to revitalise the gardens so that they could be opened up to the local community.

The Culture Recovery Fund grant will allow Wycombe Arts Centre to offset lost earnings due to the coronavirus pandemic and allow it to reinvest in its staff and infrastructure to better position it for 2021 and beyond. As a vital cultural institution serving the Chiltern Hills and bridging the gap between London and Oxford, Wycombe Arts Centre will be able to focus on continuing to provide much-needed cultural and artistic relief and opportunities instead of fighting for survival like so many other arts institutions throughout the UK and beyond.

This vital funding means that Wycombe Arts Centre can now start planning and scheduling for 2021, adapting to better serve the local community during the pandemic while simultaneously looking ahead to a post-pandemic world and a brighter future.

Selected upcoming events at Wycombe Arts Centre include:

  • Every Tuesday: The Rock Project (music lessons and performance for children and adults)
  • Tue 24th Oct: #BreakingBarriers3 (creative workshops for young people in partnership with Wycombe Youth Action)
  • November: Relaunch of regular open mic nights and Sunday jam sessions
  • November – December: Humming Bee Yoga Sessions (in small, socially-distanced groups)
  • Sat 14th & Sun 15th Nov: Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair (local creatives showcasing and selling hand-made goods)
  • Sat 21st Nov: Bucks Sewing Bee Taster Session (learn to repurpose and reinvigorate clothes with The Tired Dressmaker)
  • Sat 21st Nov: Films @ Wycombe Arts Centre (this month’s theme is “black stories in film”)
  • Fri 27th Nov: Print-Making Workshop (featuring local artists Kalkalata and Ruth October)
  • Sat 5th Dec: BR James Presents Songs and Stories (singer/songwriter and motivational speaker)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries. 

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis.  We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Ruth Gunstone, Wycombe Arts Centre manager/trustee, said:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled for the support from Arts Council England at such a vital moment. The funding that we’ve received will allow us to continue hosting safe and socially-distanced performing arts events for the foreseeable future. It also ensures that we can provide paid job opportunities for local creatives to further support the creative industry and its people during one of the biggest threats it’s ever faced.

“The Arts Council England funding means that instead of fighting for survival, we can start working towards the future, reinvesting in our infrastructure and booking COVID-secure events for spring/summer 2021. We’re excited to be able to better serve our local community and proud of the role that the arts and the Arts Centre has played (and will continue to play) in these unprecedented times.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Arts Council England:

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 billion for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

About Wycombe Arts Centre:

Wycombe Arts Centre is…

… the name of the collaborative arts centre based at the former St John’s Church buildings in High Wycombe Town Centre on Desborough Road.

… a set of unique ‘for hire’ spaces called the Cafe Space and the old church Theatre Space (an amazing Grade 2 listed building), specialising in alternative arts events.

… an open collective of local people who are inspired by creativity, including  musicians, artists, theatre groups and more!

 … the brand name of Wycombe Community Arts Centre Ltd, the charity established to manage the centre (Limited by guarantee, registered charity No. 1136161).

… supported by local independent sponsorship that led to a name change in 2018 after being ‘Arts4Every1’ since inception in 2009.

… funded by events and hires, run mainly by volunteers and supported by Buckinghamshire Council, who own the buildings.