Clwyd South MP, Simon Baynes, has welcomed the UK Government announcement of a major funding boost for the Welsh arts industry following a socially-distanced visit to the Stiwt Theatre in Rhos.
Thousands of UK organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans – with £59 million available for the arts sector in Wales as part of an overall £1.57 billion support package for the UK-wide arts industry.
The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.
Many of Britain’s cultural and heritage institutions have already received unprecedented financial assistance to see them through the pandemic including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the coronavirus job retention scheme. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.
This new package will be available across the country and ensure the future of these multi-billion pound industries are secured.
Director and Trustee of the Stiwt Theatre, Brian Jones said:
“These are very challenging times for the Stiwt as with all theatres during which time all but one of our staff have been furloughed. It was good to meet with Mr Baynes to update him regarding the support that we have received from the Arts Council Wales and the Welsh Government but also to explain the financial uncertainty we face whilst theatres remain closed. We are grateful for all the support we continue to receive particularly from our supporters locally.”
Simon Baynes MP said:
“This was my second visit to the Stiwt Theatre this year and I am very impressed by the resourcefulness with which they have handled the Coronavirus crisis. The Stiwt is a great cultural asset to Clwyd South and I am not surprised that the local community has rallied round to support this much-loved institution in its hour of need.
“I’m a keen amateur musician myself, including playing the church organ, and I have been very much involved in supporting the arts, including as a Trustee of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and Mid Wales Opera, and as chairman of the Holroyd Community Theatre, near Oswestry. So I understand how hard arts, culture and heritage organisations across the UK are finding the pandemic, including those locally in Clwyd South.
“The generous package of support recently announced by the UK Government for the arts in Wales will enable the Stiwt and other arts organisations in Clwyd South to bounce back once this crisis has passed.”