The Customs House receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Published: 17th October 2020

The Customs House has been awarded £255,000 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.

The Customs House is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced today. This follows £257 million awarded earlier in the week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Customs House is based on the banks of the River Tyne in South Shields. As a charity, every penny of its profit is reinvested to help support the local community, deliver education projects, nurture new creative talent and maintain the Grade II listed building it’s situated in

This grant will help sustain The Customs House’s future post-Covid, as well as plan for its future programme and create a safe environment for audience members to return to the venue.

It will enable the charity to continue the work it does throughout the year in the community, with young people, new writing, emerging talent and creating first-rate entertainment which is often said to be ‘punching above its weight’. The grant will also support the shortfall from the closure of venue during the pandemic with more than 200 performances being cancelled.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis.  We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer said: “We are both relieved and delighted to have received this support from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund through Arts Council England. Delighted for the people of South Tyneside and relieved that this grant will support our remaining staff through a very difficult winter and hopefully give us the springboard to serve our community and with our partners, South Tyneside Council, be here for culture.”