Article by Matt Leclere for the Folkestone & Hythe Express, published 7 April 2021
A multi-million pound funding package to support arts and heritage groups has been awarded by the government.
The funding provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will help support the arts, culture and tourism sector emerge from the pandemic, including those in the district.
It is the second round of funding announced by the government as part of its £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.
Arts groups in the Folkestone and Hythe district to benefit include the Folkestone and Hythe Operatic and Dramatic Society (FHODS), which runs Tower Theatre and will receive £55,000, Sally Hogarth Ltd, which will receive £25,000 and Screen South, which will receive Â£87,678m.
Sam Lovelace-Walne, chair of FHODS, said: "The Covid pandemic has forced the theatre to close for the past year and pushed us close to our financial limits. This grant is as much a shot in the arm for the theatre as the vaccine has been for the general public, and will help us enormously."
Strange Cargo will get £51,335 and The Chambers will receive £109,629.
Silver Screen cinema will receive £41,449.
The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway will receive up to £210,00. The money will help keep the railway running, such as maintaining all the engines, rolling stock, permanent way and buildings.
It comes as the attraction is due to open on Monday.
Danny Martin, general manager, said: "Our railway is held very dear in the hearts and minds of its customers, its staff and supporters and the community it serves. The Culture Recovery Fund has ensured we have survived this most challenging winter in good shape. The award just announced will ensure we can provide as many services and great days out as possible from April 12.
Damian Collins, MP for the district, said: "The past year has had a devastating impact on cultural and heritage organisations in Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh so it is fantastic news that £580,491 is being provided to support these most valued organisations."
"I'm really excited that as we set out on our cautious roadmap to reopening, we'll soon be able to enjoy these extraordinary institutions once again, and I'm delighted that the support is being put in place to help them thrive in the future."
Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: "Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.
"Now we're staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."