Yesterday we received the very welcome news that we were successful in our application to the Culture Recovery Fund – part of the Chancellor’s £1.57 Billion Covid response to the arts sector.

Manchester Art Gallery has been awarded £780,022 along with our partner institutions the Whitworth and the Manchester Museum, who received £428,223 and £240,580 respectively.

This is a huge boost in difficult times, and is a much-valued lifeline for the gallery and the culture of the city as a whole. The funding for the gallery is designated for specific actions addressing the impact of Covid. The money is targeted at relieving the deficit in our finances due to lack of commercial income during lockdown and since we reopened in August. It will help ensure that the Trading Company that runs the gallery café and venue hire offer remains solvent and well supported. The Trading Company is a significant contributor to our income and helps drive our public programmes. There are still challenges ahead, with reduced footfall, no café offer for our visitors as yet, limitations on our retail offer and no possibility of events for the foreseeable future. But, it is great news, and we are extremely grateful for this support.

Some of the funds will go towards broader audience development work across the city and to joint working across the city’s cultural organisations, helping people through the pandemic and working with schools and the Manchester Cultural Education Partnership. The camaraderie and resilience across the city in lockdown has been a wonderful antidote to the problems we have all faced.

There is also some funding allocated to new Covid-safe learning programmes and to the additional costs related to the unavoidable delay in opening our Derek Jarman and Constellations exhibitions along with some updates to our website which will significantly enhance our digital offer and online programme.

We are very grateful to Arts Council England, DCMS and HM Treasury for this support and also to our audiences, supporters, communities, volunteers and staff who continue to keep Manchester Art Gallery free and open to all people as a place of civic thinking and public imagination, promoting art as a means to achieve social change.