Towner Eastbourne secures Arts Council England funding to begin Capital Redevelopment works in 2021

Posted on 11/12/2020

Image: Manalo & White

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England has today announced further awards from its £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund: £58.9million has been awarded through the Fund’s Capital Kickstart grants programme, and over £165million has been offered through the Repayable Finance programme.

Towner Eastbourne is pleased to announce they have been successful in securing £341,002.

The funding awarded will allow Towner to fulfil ambitious plans to ensure the gallery remains at the heart of the cultural offer in Eastbourne and Sussex, ahead of Towner’s 2023 Centenary year and following the accolade of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020.

The funding will go towards two new and flexible studio spaces on the gallery’s ground floor, allowing Towner to deliver on plans for artist development through the provision of studio space and a bigger on-site community engagement programme. A better environment for those with hidden and physical disabilities will be created, via greater circulation space.

The adaptations will also be considerate of environmental impact and where possible will rely on reusing materials and minimising wastage.

Towner also plans to ensure its future financial stability by improving the ground floor shop and developing its on-site cafe offer, as well as opening the space for a wider range of hires, including makers fairs, cinema screenings and for local businesses and creative practitioners.

Towner’s visitor numbers were at an all-time high in 2019 with a 20% increase in requests for creative activities and the planned redevelopment works will help to meet this demand.

Towner’s Board of Trustees and executive team welcome the good news from Arts Council England. Further fundraising will begin in 2021 to see the works through to completion.

Architects and a design team will be appointed in 2021.

Joe Hill, Director, Towner Eastbourne, “Thank you to Arts Council England for this vital funding towards our forthcoming capital redevelopment. This project is central to our strategy of ensuring Towner Eastbourne is a cultural and civic hub for communities across Eastbourne and East Sussex, as we move towards our Centenary year in 2023. We will use the funding to improve the flexibility of our gallery studios, helping us to create an accessible space for everyday creative activities for people of all ages including families and vulnerable groups, and where artists can make and engage with our audiences. By making creative activities more accessible to all in our gallery, the redevelopment will also allow us to continue to reach vulnerable households and diverse audiences within our building as well as through work in the community and the town at large. The newly improved spaces will also support our commercial ambitions for our cafe, shop and as a venue for organisations to hire for live events, makers fairs, networking events and artist residencies.”

Today’s announcement follows several previous rounds of investment from the Culture Recovery Fund, which saw £428million distributed to over 2000 cultural organisations through the Grants programme, alongside the £3.36million Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund. The financing announced today takes the total allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund over £1 billion, delivering on the government’s commitment to be here for culture in every corner of the country during this pandemic.

Peter Heslip, Director, South East, Arts Council England, said:“This latest investment through the Cultural Capital Kickstart Fund will secure a number of our region’s most exciting capital projects affected by the pandemic. We know that the investment made to date through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has already helped to sustain many organisations across the South East and this is another way to ensure the resilience of important spaces at the heart of their communities. With the extra public investment, these organisations can continue to transform their cultural spaces, ready and waiting for the public to return.”

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “This government promised it would be here for culture and today’s announcement is proof we’ve kept our word. The £1 billion invested so far through the Culture Recovery Fund has protected tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK, with more support still to come through the second round of applications. Today we’re extending a huge helping hand to the crown jewels of UK culture – so that they can continue to inspire future generations all around the world.”