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Chatham Historic Dockyard among organisations to receive share of Arts Council England's £33 million emergency Covid grant funding

Two art organisations in Kent will receive a share of £33 million emergency Covid-19 grant funding, announced today by Arts Council England.

Chatham Historic Dockyard in Medway has been awarded £243,000 while Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company based in Ashford is to receive £117,500, in what is the third and final round of handouts.

Chatham Historic Dockyard is home to the Victorian sloop HMS Gannet built for the Royal Navy in Sheerness in 1878
Chatham Historic Dockyard is home to the Victorian sloop HMS Gannet built for the Royal Navy in Sheerness in 1878

The short-term emergency funding is specifically designed to help organisations that need financial support to stay afloat until the end of September because of the impact of the pandemic.

Chief executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Bill Ferris, said: "There is a number of support packages emerging to support the recovery of cultural sector and we are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation Emergency Fund.

"This grant is to specifically support the reopening of The Historic Dockyard Chatham to visitors and essential maintenance of our historic estate.

"Seven of our nine income streams have been decimated due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this vital support from the Arts Council will help us maintain our award-winning visitor experiences and fulfil our key charitable objectives of preservation and learning.

"The impact on the wider heritage and cultural sector is something that the Trust has campaigned on strongly through its strategic links with government and other bodies.

Ropemaking at Chatham's Historic Dockyard was halted for the first time in its 400 year history due to the pandemic
Ropemaking at Chatham's Historic Dockyard was halted for the first time in its 400 year history due to the pandemic

"We hope that this leadership and these efforts, in support of the whole sector, contributed in a small way to yesterday’s announcement of a further £1.57bn to support the many organisations in crisis.

"Meanwhile we will continue to campaign for the whole sector but also have much work to do to ensure the long-term future of the Historic Dockyard and the Trust which remains very severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis."

All 196 recipients listed in today's list are Arts Council England's National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) meaning they are regularly funded by the agency during the period of 2018-2022.

The national portfolio is a collection of 830 organisations, described as 'the backbone of the cultural infrastructure for England', whose programme of works the Arts Council has agreed to support.

They produce work for the public to enjoy, employ and commission thousands of people and support many small companies through supply chains.

20 of the organisations are within the south east region and have received £2.9 million of the £33 million pot.

The Jasmin Vardimon pop-up studio should have been open until the end of June but was closed prematurely due to the pandemic
The Jasmin Vardimon pop-up studio should have been open until the end of June but was closed prematurely due to the pandemic

The awards offered to NPOs today are part of the Arts Council’s overall £160 million Emergency Response Package, launched in March and made available thanks to National Lottery players and Government.

£69 million has already been awarded to nearly 10,000 individuals and independent organisations in two earlier rounds.

Almost £2.1 million was distributed to support Kent artists and groups, not listed as NPOs. They could apply for grants of up to £35,000 each.

The cash went to some of our biggest venues struggling with the impact of coronavirus including the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury which received £34,468.

Other organisations backed by the funding included Maidstone Museums, the Horsebridge Arts Centre in Whitstable, and Folkestone Fringe.

Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company which has been running online classes during the pandemic is to receive £117,500
Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company which has been running online classes during the pandemic is to receive £117,500

The remaining budget from its £160vmillion emergency programme will be used to complement the Government’s £1.57 billion rescue package, announced yesterday.

Hedley Swain, Arts Council England area director for south east, said: “Our priority has always been to support as many individuals and organisations as we can through this difficult time – something we have only been able to do thanks to National Lottery players and DCMS.

"Today’s funding will provide essential financial relief for National Portfolio Organisations from across the east and south east.

“But we know that we are all still facing huge challenges. We’ll use our remaining available funds, alongside those announced by Government, to support our sector in the coming months.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, chairmain of Arts Council England, said: “Culture, creativity and the arts are a fundamental part of our country’s identity – they bring joy, fulfilment and shared experience and help boost people’s health and wellbeing.

Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company is based in Ashford
Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company is based in Ashford

"Our NPOs play a crucial role in providing opportunities for people across England to enjoy culture, and this funding will ensure that they are able to continue their work through the summer.

"We’re grateful for the support of our colleagues at DCMS and HM Treasury as we’ve worked together to help our sector – and look forward to continuing this collaboration as we establish the next steps in making the best possible use of the Government’s very significant rescue package to secure the future of arts, culture and heritage in this country.”

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