Over 200 UK independent cinemas to share £16m in support grants

A cinema with taped off chairs for social distancing
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Independent cinemas are now set to receive funding that eases pressure on them and hopefully safeguards their futures.

More than 200 independent cinemas across the UK are finally able to receive the financial support that was announced by the government back in July as part of a wider Culture Recovery Fund. The fund was set up to help beleaguered arts venues, many of whom have been forced to shut their doors through the entirety of the pandemic.

The funds are being allocated by the BFI, with independent cinemas set to receive between £7000 and £564,000 to help see them through the Covid crisis. The funding is especially timely given that much of the country is sitting in tier 3 and now tier 4, where cinemas must remain shut.

There will also be a fresh round of funding in the new year to further support independent cinemas, in the hope that they will be able to stay afloat until the point next year when it is both safe, and financially viable for them to open again.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the nature of the funding differs. It means cinemas could apply for several types of grant, including safety grants to support them in re-opening in a Covid-secure fashion, and larger business sustainability grants to help them endure the shutdown.

BFI chief executive Ben Roberts, has spoken about the grants, stating: “Across the country, local independent cinemas are hubs and lifelines for communities and often the only form of culture and entertainment. From educational programs and workshops for young people, to screenings for the elderly and audiences with specialised needs, these cinemas play such an important role in people’s lives. The Culture Recovery Fund will mean that many of these cinemas survive the current crisis, and go on to play a vital role in the recovery of local economies and communities, bringing people together to offer joy, solace and the magic of the big screen.”

In another boost for the UK film industry, it was also announced that the Film and TV Restart Scheme would be extended until until April 2021. The program is a £500m insurance fund that covers productions in the light of Covid shutdowns and has allowed over 100 productions to film since it began in October.

Lead image: BigStock

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