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Cheshire Dance is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery with a £75,000 grant to help the organisation recover and transition towards a new to normal in the months ahead.
Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. For Cheshire Dance, this grant will go a long way to ensuring its three key groups of young people, older adults and those with disabilities – including Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities – once again have unrestricted access to the art form.
Throughout the pandemic the organisation has been a frontline service that has been highly valued by the communities that it supports. Despite lockdown restrictions and periods with social distancing – and despite the absence of its live programme – between 2020 and 2021 Cheshire Dance was still able to deliver 10,713 community participation experiences through 1,300 creative sessions, largely online. Over 90% of its dance experiences during the COVID-crisis targeted vulnerable groups in the community – particularly those facing inequalities and/or with Protected Characteristics.
With this grant Cheshire Dance will focus on re-engaging its participants and audiences and will relaunch its community programme safely and effectively to ensure everyone everywhere once again has access to dance.
In the same manner, the organisation will continue to support the freelance artists that deliver its extensive programme in communities and who have felt the full force of the pandemic on their income.
Adam Holloway, Director of Cheshire Dance, said: “With investment through the Cultural Recovery Fund, we are #HereForCulture. It means as soon as restrictions allow, we will be welcoming back our dancing communities to face-to-face sessions. As always, we will do this safely and with particular regard to those who face inequalities in their everyday lives as this is of critical importance to the whole team and Board at Cheshire Dance.
“Furthermore, this fund also means that we can invest in the artists whose role in society we champion and who are #NeverMoreNeeded. To all the many hundreds of dancers connected to Cheshire Dance, see you soon!”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.
We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, commented: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.
“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”
The funding awarded in April is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.