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Published October 23rd 2020
Covid recovery fund to aid castle and theatre
Culture and history lovers in Tamworth can breathe a sign of relief after the Staffordshire town was awarded £376,150 of government cash to ensure the future of local attractions. Tamworth Borough Council successfully bid for a slice of the Government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help protect the future of the nation's creative and cultural organisations. The Fund, administered by Arts Council England, has awarded a total of £250,000 for medieval Tamworth Castle and a further £126,150 for Tamworth Assembly Rooms. The grant aid will help the castle and recently refurbished theatre survive the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. This will include improving sustainability by developing new digital audiences for both attractions and helping the Assembly Rooms prepare for a safe and viable reopening next year.
Tamworth Castle to get £250,000 government funding
Tamworth Assembly Rooms was forced to close its doors in March in line with Government guidelines which required theatres to shut down with immediate effect. Although some theatres have since been able to reopen, the 131-year-old Assembly Rooms would have to restrict audience numbers to such a point that it would not be viable. The government grant could now be used to install a high quality projector to enable live screenings, install protective screens on bar areas and the box office, create separate drinking areas, create an app for ordering direct from tables, additional cleaning operations and the creation of an external seating area on the patio outside.
Funding will help Tamworth Assembly Rooms reopen next year
While Tamworth Castle reopened on August 1, it did so at a much reduced capacity, with limited tickets and without the events and education programmes which made up the majority of its income. The pandemic has further magnified the need for the castle, as the town's sole museum and main cultural venue, to modernise the way services are provided to the community, visitors and schools. The government funding will help start a process of getting the entire collection and archive available online. The castle collection comprises around 40,000 items, but only 10 per cent are on public display. The grant will also help develop new features for visitors and new digital audiences.
Councillor Daniel Cook, leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said: "The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on many aspects of our lives and livelihoods, and the same is true for our arts and cultural organisations, which are still struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This funding from the Government gives us a huge boost in making sure both Tamworth Castle and Tamworth Assembly Rooms become more resilient in the future. It will enable us to prepare for a wider reopening and looking at ways to reach new audiences both locally and nationally." Tamworth MP, Christopher Pincher, said he was "very pleased" at the Government funding, adding that it would help organisations to plan for their eventual reopening and get people back through the doors.