The Guildhall Trust Receives Lifeline Grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

The Guildhall Trust has been awarded £215,000 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.

The Guildhall Trust 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.


The Guildhall Trust is the charitable organisation which manages Portsmouth Guildhall, one of the South’s leading Concert and Conferencing venues, attracting over ¼ million users with an estimated economic impact of £7million each year.

The Guildhall Trust also produces and manages events including the Dance Live! competition for schools and colleges and Portsmouth Comic Con – International Festival of Comics, and delivers a range of inspirational opportunities for the community through its ‘Get Involved’ programme.

This funding, along with support from other areas, will go a long way to sustaining the Trust through to when the Guildhall can fully reopen for live entertainment, conferencing and events and will help to secure the future of the iconic venue that has stood in the heart of city for 130 years.

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.”

Councillor and Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Steve Pitt, said:
“This is very welcome news indeed. There has been an enormous amount of uncertainty for months and the Guildhall Trust’s success in their bid to the Cultural Recovery Fund will help to ensure there is a brighter future for the city’s flagship venue. Let’s be clear, culture is critical to the UK economy and this is an investment towards securing local jobs and helping Portsmouth towards recovery from Covid 19.”

Chief Executive Officer, The Guildhall Trust, Andy Grays, said:
“We are delighted by today’s news which is a very positive step in our journey toward full reopening. Since closing our doors in March we have been proactively diversifying our income streams and reducing costs wherever we can, and while this support will go some way to helping us and gives us a huge boost, we still face a challenge ahead to secure further funds to fully get back to doing what we love.”

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