Cinemas in Elland and Hebden Bridge given lifeline amid 'frustrating' year

A cinema in Elland has been given lifeline after being awarded nearly £50,000 amid a 'frustrating' year according to its owner.

Monday, 21st December 2020, 4:18 pm
Updated Monday, 21st December 2020, 4:20 pm

Charles Morris, who owns the Rex Cinema, in Coronation Street, was awarded £49,813 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of £16 million Culture Recovery Fund to help independent cinemas up and down the country.

Many independent cinemas were forced to shut up shop twice this year after the first and second lockdown, with the venue owners scrabbling for support from the government to help with furlough schemes and funds to pay for overheads including electricity and other expenses.

Mr Morris said: "Yes the Rex has been awarded a Business Sustainability Grant.

The exterior to Hebden Bridge Picture House

"This follows a difficult and time-consuming application process. It was like taking university final exams all over again.

"So I'm very thankful we have got it.

"It's designed to keep us afloat until the end of March 2021.

"It has been very frustrating. We reopened the Rex on October 30, at the end of the first lockdown, and were very well supported.

Charles Morris, owner of the Rex in Elland

"But we had to close within the week due to the second lockdown, followed by the tier 3 categorisation."

Another independent cinema marred by lockdown and tier 3 restrictions is Hebden Bridge Picture House (HBPH), but it seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel for the 99-year-old venue after being awarded £101,271 from the Business Sustainability Grant.

HBPH manager Rebekah Fozard said: "We're delighted to be a recipient of a further grant from the DCMS' Culture Recovery Fund, as part of the BFI's Business Sustainability awards for independent cinemas."

The funding comes as the cinema prepares for its centenary year in July.

Interior to Hebden Bridge Picture House

"This funding will allow us to cover our operating costs over the course of the financial year, for periods of trading and closure alike, and will secure the cinema's future well into 2021, which is Hebden Bridge Picture House's centenary year," said Ms Fozard.

"Once we're able to re-open safely, we will be publishing a full programme of films and events celebrating 100 years of our beloved cinema being at the heart of Hebden Bridge and the wider area of the Upper Calder Valley."

The Department announcing a total of £16m in grants from its Culture Recovery Fund for arts and cultural organisations to independent cinemas across England. The fund has been administered by the BFI on behalf of the DCMS.