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Kent venues and artists welcome emergency Government Covid funding

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The Government is to pump £1.5bn into emergency measures to save the arts scene from catastrophe - to the delight of Kent's venues and artists.

The news follows a huge campaign calling for emergency action to help the country's theatres and music venues, which have been devastated by enforced closures during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury (36347107)
The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury (36347107)

Many venues had warned they faced imminent closure, with the lucrative pantomime season looking in serious doubt.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the financial package would safeguard the sector for future generations.

He added: "From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.

"This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down."

Theatres, music venues, independent cinemas and heritage sites will be eligible for emergency grants and loans.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak added: "The show must go on. We're introducing a world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package to help cultural, arts and heritage institutions weather the impact of coronavirus."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Many Kent venues had launched crowdfunding campaigns in an attempt to alleviate the impact of lockdown.

The Forum in Tunbridge Wells, one of the county's leading venues for up-and-coming bands, tweeted: 'To say we are happy is an understatement.'

Lloyd Hollett, one of the stars of the Marlowe Theatre pantomime in Canterbury, added simply: "Wow. Just wow! Thank you."

Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

However, despite the funding theatres and venues are unlikely to be able to open for a number of months.

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