Sunderland Culture has been awarded £341,777 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Sunderland Culture is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Established in 2016, Sunderland Culture aims to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture. It is an innovative place-based delivery model for arts and culture, founded through a partnership between University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council and the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust.

Sunderland Culture delivers the cultural programme in Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington, National Glass Centre, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and the Fire Station, as well supporting the development of creative industries in the city and delivering city-wide cultural events and projects with local communities.

This grant will enable Sunderland Culture to continue its work to strengthen the city’s cultural economy, increase cultural participation and ensure culture plays a key role in the city’s recovery from the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Sunderland Culture Chief Executive Keith Merrin, said:  “The grant will provide Sunderland Culture with support over the next six months, to mitigate some of the financial losses we have incurred due to the impact of Covid-19 and continue delivering a cultural programme at National Glass Centre, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington and with communities in Sunderland – in a socially distanced or digital format.

“The challenge faced by cultural organisations, artists and creative businesses in the wake of Covid-19 is unprecedented, and we are grateful to DCMS and Arts Council England for providing this vital support at a critical point.”