Foundation gives special funding to arts organisations

Garry Weston (colour picture) and foundation founder Garfield Weston. Pics: Weston Foundation

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Paul Genty

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Garfield Weston Foundation offers £100,000-£1.5m to pandemic-hit arts organisations

Over 100 cultural organisations across the UK have been awarded shares in a £30m+ one-off special Culture Fund from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

The awards are in response to the devastating impact on arts and culture of the Covid-19 pandemic, and support organisations from museums to regional theatres and national touring ballet companies.

The trustees increased their original fund value by 20 per cent, to over £30m, after seeing the level of creativity and determination from arts organisations hit by the pandemic and fighting to “keep the lights on”.

The largest amount goes the National Theatre (£1.5m), though none of the recipients receive less than a six-figure sum.

In the North West, recipients include the Hallé Concerts Society (£648k), HOME Manchester (£350k), the Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust (Everyman and Playhouse - £390k), Manchester Young People's Theatre Ltd (£178k), Bolton Octagon (£320k) Rosehill Arts Trust Ltd (Rosehill Theatre in the Lake District - £100k), the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society (£750k), the Bluecoat arts centre in Liverpool (£200k) and Salford’s Lowry Centre Trust (£304k)

In Yorkshire the fund will help the Leeds Playhouse (£709k), Northern Ballet (£600k), Sheffield Theatres (£702k) and Wakefield Theatre Trust (£200k), as well as awards to Kirklees Theatre Trust - responsible for the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield (£237k), and Hull Truck Theatre, which receives £170k.

The Weston trustees are members of the Weston family, whose philanthropic organisation was set up in 1958 and has since given out more than £1 billion.

Foundation director Philippa Charles said, "Our trustees were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit shown across the arts in response to Covid-19 and it was a privilege to hear what organisations had been doing to not only survive but also to reinvent the way they reach audiences.

“What really stood out was the level of collaboration and support they had for each other. We all want and need our cultural sector to thrive and, if anything, our time away from the arts has shown just how important they are to us.”

The Foundation’s regular funding streams also continue to offer grants: since last April the organisation has given away over £75 million to charities across the UK.

The Garfield Weston Foundation donates over £80 million a year across the UK in a typical year. The trustees are all descendants of founder Garfield Weston, MP for Macclesfield during World War II, who founded Associated British Foods and endowed the foundation with company shares. As a result largely of his son Garry Weston's efforts it grew into one of the nation’s largest and most respected charitable institutions, helping almost 2,000 charities across the UK each year. 

Read more here, and see the full list of the culture fund's recipients here.

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