Sussex cinemas receive recovery funding

Chichester Cinema at New Park is among a host of independent cinemas across East and West Sussex to benefit from the latest share of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Walter Francisco, cinema director and programmer at the Chichester Cinema at New Park
Walter Francisco, cinema director and programmer at the Chichester Cinema at New Park

Cinemas in Worthing, Lewes, Hastings, Rye, Hailsham and East Grinstead have been also included, with the money administered by the British Film Institute on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The awards are: Chichester Cinema at New Park £85,264; Electric Palace Cinema, Hastings £20,147; Kino, Rye £111,266; Kino-Teatr, Hastings £42,865; Orion Cinema, Burgess Hill £8,424; Picture House, Uckfield £110,557; Scott Cinemas @ The Atrium, East Grinstead £46,135; The Depot, Lewes £125,392; The Dome Cinema, Worthing £44,108; and The Pavilion, Hailsham £43,003.

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Walter Francisco, cinema director and programmer at the Chichester Cinema at New Park, was delighted with the news: “We received a Safety Grant from the Culture Recovery Fund in 2020, which helped in our Covid-19 safety adjustments made over the summer lockdown. What seemed like a large but essential expense to ensure our audience, volunteers and staff could return to the safest possible environment, became affordable with the grant and released some financial pressure that we and every other cinema were under when contemplating reopening.

Dome Cinema Worthing

“After the second and third lockdowns in November and early 2021 respectively, the cinema industry was forced into further financial difficulty, leading to the announcement of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

“I am delighted that Chichester Cinema at New Park has been lucky enough to receive some of this much-needed support. We cannot thank the BFI and DCMS enough for their great effort to keep this wonderful art form of ours alive in the expectation that once this difficult period is over we will come back with strength as an industry.”

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, said: “People have been missing the big screen experience and we know they are looking forward to cinemas being able to reopen from May 17 onwards.

“The Culture Recovery Fund has been a lifeline to survival for local independent cinemas up and down the country, ensuring that they will be able to welcome their audiences back.

“In bringing the latest films from blockbusters to British films and new discoveries from around the world as well as screen classics, the local cinema paradiso is often the only form of culture and entertainment in their area and are vital to their communities.

“We need them back and thanks to the fund screens will soon light up once more.”

The awards came on Good Friday as Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced details of 2,700 organisations being offered nearly £400 million in grants and loans to help the culture sector reopen and recover, on top of the £1 billion that has already been allocated in the first round.