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Liverpool arts organisations get vital covid culture cash

Four Liverpool arts organisations have been awarded a total of almost £1.5m from the Garfield Weston Foundation to help them reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Everyman and Playhouse, Bluecoat and The Reader are among more than 100 cultural bodies nationwide to share the £30.26m culture funding from the national foundation.

The RLP is set to receive £750,000 – the largest sum for any recipient in the North West, while the Merseyside Theatres Trust which runs the Everyman and Playhouse gets £390,000.

Meanwhile the Bluecoat will receive £191,184 and The Reader, based at Calderstones Mansion, has been awarded £143,776.

The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded grant-making trust which supports charities across the UK.

It had initially set aside £25m for the Weston Culture Fund, but with 300 applications totalling more than £128m trustees added more than £5m extra to the pot.

Announcing the grant awards, a spokesman for the foundation said: “Our much-loved museums, galleries, cultural centres and creative arts organisations are among the best in the world, and the Weston Culture Fund was created in response to Covid-19 which has had a devastating impact.

“The fund aimed to support the sector to restart its work, refresh activities and re-engage audiences following Covid-19 closures. These organisations not only bring joy and wonder into our lives, but also play a vital role in their communities through learning and outreach; not to mention the wider employment and volunteering opportunities they create.

“While we’re delighted to help so many creative partners through this unprecedented period of uncertainty, this is tempered by regret at having to turn away so many great charities, many of which we have long and valued relationships with.”

The Everyman and Playhouse will use its grant to improve the theatres’ live streaming capacity and to “work closely with local freelancers to develop exciting and forward-thinking theatre” as well as staging live performances when theatres are allowed to reopen.

Chief executive Mark Da Vanzo said: “I would like to send my sincere gratitude to the Garfield Weston Trustees for recognising the detrimental impact of Covid-19 on the cultural sector and supporting our organisation through the Weston Culture Fund. Their support will allow us to explore the future of theatre beyond Covid-19, continue to support our local freelance community and expand our digital offer to audiences.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to continue to bring theatre to the people of Liverpool, and beyond, during these trying times. To be recognised in this way is testament to the incredible efforts of our board and staff team.”

Meanwhile the Liverpool Phil says the “generous grant gives us the vital support we need to rebuild in the year ahead.”

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