The one-year extension of £317,500 for both organisations combined was agreed by councillors in order to help provide support in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and to aid both organisations' planning for the next two years. 

The extension, approved at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 19 January, is also in line with a funding extension from Arts Council England.

"Arts and culture are vital to our district's identity and like many arts organisations across the country, the theatre and gallery have been significantly affected as a result of the pandemic," says Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council. "Extending our grant support means that we can help sustain arts and cultural provision in the district for these two organisations until 2023.

"We recognise that both the theatre and gallery are large contributors to the local economy and in normal times attract millions of pounds to the district each year. They are both nationally and internationally recognised, and attract large numbers of visitors to the district.

"In addition, they also both play an important role in the community and carry out a great deal of outreach work. Securing funding for an additional year will enable the theatre and gallery to continue and extend the work they do with the local community and targeted groups for the long recovery from the lockdowns as a result of COVID-19."

Kathy Bourne, Executive Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, says: "In such turbulent and uncertain times, the extension of Chichester District Council's grant until 2023 is a real boost to our ability to continue to serve our community. Throughout the pandemic, we've trialled new creative ideas and different ways of working to ensure that we could deliver work for our audiences and offer ongoing engagement for community groups of all ages and backgrounds. We're extremely grateful for the council's generous support."

Simon Martin, Director of Pallant House Gallery, says: "Since its foundation in 1982, Pallant House Gallery has enjoyed a close relationship with Chichester District Council, caring for the important art collection that the Dean of Chichester Cathedral, Walter Hussey, left to the people of Chichester and the Queen Anne townhouse that houses it. We greatly value the support that we receive from Chichester District Council, which enables us to engage and support the members of our community programme, schools, young people and our wider audiences, and bring investment and cultural tourism to the area. As more people become aware of the social benefits of art, the council's decision to extend our funding at this difficult time is extremely important and helpful, and we are grateful to be able to rely upon their significant contribution."

The council's Novium Museum will be working closely with both Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery to coordinate the recently announced 'Season of Culture 2022' which will mark several local cultural organisations' key anniversaries and  celebrate Chichester's culture and heritage. This funding extension will also enable this work to continue.

Date of release: 25 January 2021

Reference: 3973