As Marc Burrows’ article (Million-pound question: why save Secret Cinema while real cinemas are in ruins?, 14 October) acknowledges, “there may be some comparison of apples with oranges here”. To strain the metaphor, the government’s culture recovery fund is a rich orchard of different fruit.
The article focuses on one grant to one organisation, Secret Cinema, that is part of a bigger funding picture, including support from the BFI for independent cinema. In doing so, it ignores the breadth of the fund’s positive impact on people’s lives across England.
The portion of the fund that the Arts Council administers is demand-led, with the aim of preventing vulnerable but valued cultural organisations from becoming insolvent. To qualify for funding, organisations need to be at risk of financial failure. Awards of all sizes have been made, proportionate to the needs of the organisations. They also have to show that they are culturally significant. This criterion centres on the value of the work they do in their communities and on the national stage.
In the first two rounds of the funding alone, nearly 2,000 grants have been awarded to a vast range of brilliant organisations. Our creative organisations generate economic returns, provide freelance opportunities, undertake valuable community work and make art that will be remembered for generations. Whether it’s youth theatre in Burnley, circus in Stroud, rock gigs in Shrewsbury, comedy in Southend, opera in Newcastle or military history in Hartlepool, together these 2,000 organisations represent the best of the UK’s cultural sector. We are proud to back them.
CEO, Arts Council England