M&S Bank Arena and conference centre gets £3m Government grant as venue confirms Christmas events will take place

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A £3m Government grant has been awarded to the group operating the M&S Bank Arena and conference centre, with the venue also confirming Christmas events will take place this year.

ACC Liverpool Group is one of 35 major cultural organisations among the first to receive a grant from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, with £75m of investment announced at the weekend.

The coronavirus pandemic has presented the waterfront venue with one of its biggest challenges ever, with 34 concerts having so far been cancelled, meaning an estimated loss of £18m in economic impact to the region.

But on Saturday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the huge venue is to get £2.97m – almost the maximum available – from the rescue fund unveiled earlier this year to help venues through the crisis.

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It comes after the venue in August announced it had offered staff voluntary redundancy.

Bob Prattey, chief executive of the ACC Liverpool Group, who earlier this year said the pandemic had been the “most difficult challenge” of his career, said: “We are extremely grateful for the financial support we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund during this very challenging time. 

“The grant will be used towards the operational costs of the arena until we are able to return to staging full capacity large scale arena shows. 

“We continue to stand by our colleagues across the live music industry and support the hard work delivered to date through initiatives such as We Make Events and Let The Music Play.

“While we are very pleased to receive this funding for the arena, we still have no start date from the government as to when we can resume our growing conference and exhibition programme.  This situation is severely curtailing our corporate financial performance and ability to generate economic impact for the city region through attracting visitors who stay in hotels and spend across the visitor economy in restaurants and retail outlets. 

“We therefore continue to fight for clarity, guidance and a survival package for these sectors as well.” https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.business-live.co.uk%2Feconomic-development%2Fms-bank-arena-conference-centre-19165693&cre=bottom&cip=17

The group said the “vital” funding will support on-going operational costs until spring 2021 – and fund specialist equipment, to ensure the venue is Covid-secure for all audience sizes. 

Socially distanced events including The Classic Rock Show Christmas Party, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac and Jack and the Beanstalk will take place in December, Mr Prattey confirmed.

The event programme next year includes Little Mix, Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals, Dua Lipa and Elton John.

Culture Secretary, Mr Dowden, said: “As part of our unprecedented £1.57bn rescue fund, today we’re saving British cultural icons with large grants of up to £3m – from Shakespeare’s Globe to the Sheffield Crucible.

“These places and organisations are irreplaceable parts of our heritage and what make us the cultural superpower we are.  This vital funding will secure their future and protect jobs right away.”

Originally published by BusinessLive on 26th October 2020. SOURCE

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