Millions in grants and loans offered in latest Recovery Fund round

Artist's impression of The Factory. Pic: Manchester City Council


Paul Genty

11 Dec 2020

Factory among several northern institutions given much-needed help

Manchester’s Factory arts centre is to get a £21 million grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund, among dozens of major awards and loans announced today.

Some of the nation’s biggest cultural institutions will receive a share of a £165 million package of repayable loans, the largest specific amounts offered within the £1.57 billion recovery package.

Among them are £40 million for historic Royal palaces and almost £22 million for the Royal Opera House. Almost £9 million will go to two commercial West End and touring show producers, to help kick-start national theatregoing again.

The loan scheme gives its recipients a repayment holiday that could stretch to four years, then low interest rates and repayments over as long as 20 years.

Alongside the loans will go a smaller package of non-repayable grants, including that for the new home of the Manchester International Festival, which has suffered long delays and big cost increases and will now open two years late in December 2022.

The Manchester City Council-built theatre, concert hall and international arts development hothouse has seen costs jump by £45 million. The project, on the site of the former Granada TV studios, will cost £186m against an original estimate of £110 million – but should attract up to 880,000 visitors a year, offer up to 1,500 new jobs and add up to £1.1 billion to the local economy.

Today’s list brings Culture Recovery Fund handouts to more than £1 billion, with the remaining £300 million in grants and £100 million in loans to come in a second round in early 2021.

The Factory grant is one of over 70, worth £60 million, made under the “Capital Kickstart” fund, which aims to get back up and running projects seriously stalled by the pandemic.

Grants have also been made to Opera North, Knowsley Borough Council (home of the new Shakespeare North Playhouse), Contact Theatre in Manchester, which has just reopened after a major refit, and Global Grooves, a Mossley, Greater Manchester-based carnival arts organisation.

The list of northern recipients includes:

Manchester City Council – £21,000,000
Knowsley Borough Council – £3,000,000
Leeds City Council – £1,792,459
Opera North Limited, Leeds – £499,999
Contact (Manchester Young People’s Theatre) – £424,799
Bolton Council – £400,000
Global Grooves, Mossley – £234,721
Sheffield Theatres Trust Ltd – £52,600