'Relief' as Customs House receives £255,000 lifeline grant from Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Customs House boss Ray Spencer has expressed his ‘relief’ and ‘delight’ as the charity receives a £255,000 lifeline grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The much-loved arts venue in South Shields had feared for its future during the coronavirus pandemic after more than 200 performances were cancelled.

The venue, based at Mill Dam, was forced to start formal redundancy consultations with staff in July in what was said to be a ‘last resort’ to ‘safeguard the future’ of the organisation if restrictions on trading continued past the end of the furlough scheme.

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But now the charity has been thrown a lifeline by way of a £255,000 grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The money will help The Customs House to face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it has a sustainable future.

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.

The Customs House has secured a £255,000 lifeline grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

"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.”

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.

Customs House director Ray Spencer welcoming you to the theatre

The funding will also support the shortfall from the closure of the venue during the pandemic.

The grant 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.

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