Cambridge Literary Festival receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

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Cambridge Literary Festival (CLF) has been awarded £50,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today. 

Cambridge Literary Festival is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks. 

Cambridge Literary Festival has staged two festivals a year plus one-off events in historic Cambridge venues since 2003. In 2013 it became a registered charity to support the advancement of public education through the promotion of literature, language and the arts via a literary festival in Cambridge. 

Prior to COVID-19 CLF’s main source of income was ticket sales supplemented by individual giving, Friends membership, corporate donations and some public funding. CLF were financially secure with healthy reserves and about to embark on a ten-year development strategy. However as both 2020 festivals were cancelled CLF was left financially vulnerable. 

CLF has a long-established relationship with its audience, our mission has always been to appeal to marginalised audiences by offering a diverse mix of today’s best writers, thinkers and speakers. 

Our new digital proposition brings an exciting opportunity to remove distance, economic and health barriers. At the outset of COVID the digital project was already underway, with budget set aside. It allowed us to pivot from physical to digital and reposition for a post-COVID environment. 

This funding is vital for the survival of the festival, it means that we can continue to deliver on our promise and can continue to plan for a Spring 2021 festival knowing that we now have the financial security to do so. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: 

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. 

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.” 

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: 

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.” 

Cathy Moore, Festival Founder and Director said:

It is with a huge sense of relief and deep gratitude all round for this financial lifeline, which will enable us to retain staff, produce events and continue to deliver a vibrant online literary festival over the next six months, putting us in much safer place financially until such times as we can confidently and safely run live events again.”