BH Live receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Social enterprise and charitable trust BH Live has been awarded £2,499,531 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced.

BH Live is one of 35 major cultural organisations receiving the first grants between £1 and £3 million through the Culture Recovery Fund – with £75 million of investment announced today [Saturday 24 October 2020]. This follows £334 million awarded earlier in the month to nearly 2,000 organisations, also from 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.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“As part of our unprecedented £1.57 billion rescue fund, today we’re saving British cultural icons with large grants of up to £3 million – 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.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“The Culture Recovery Fund has already helped hundreds of organisations, of all types and sizes, in villages, towns and cities across the country. It has provided a lifeline that will allow these organisations to continue to play an integral role in their communities and produce new artistic work that will entertain and inspire us all.

“This latest funding, which are the largest grants to date, will support some of the country’s most loved and admired cultural spaces – from great regional theatres and museums to historic venues in the capital – which are critical to the development of a new generation of talent and in providing work for freelance creatives.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England, South West, added:

“The Culture Recovery Fund has already helped hundreds of organisations in villages, towns and cities across the South West. I am so pleased that we’ve been able to support such a diverse range of organisations – from grassroots music venues to celebrated circuses.

This latest funding, which are the largest grants Arts Council have administered to date, will support some of the South West’s most beloved performance spaces – from Plymouth to Bournemouth and Southampton. This funding has provided a lifeline that will allow these organisations to stay afloat over the next few months and bounce back after the crisis, so they can continue to play an integral role in their communities.”

BH Live, operates venues, event spaces and theatres including Fairfield Halls in Croydon, and Bournemouth Pavilion. It also manages the arena at Bournemouth International Centre. As well as generating millions of pounds for the local economy and supporting thousands of people’s livelihoods, BH Live’s diverse and accessible event programme of more than 800 shows a year is enjoyed by more than half a million people.

As a social enterprise, BH Live relies on profits from commercial activity to fund its community arts programmes, subsidise grassroots performances, and to provide accessible learning and cultural experiences for all. The coronavirus pandemic and, ongoing trading restrictions, have had a significant impact on BH Live’s ability to run these events and generate the income it needs to support its charitable work.

The award will be used to help secure the future of live events and protect the provision of theatre, live performance and cultural events for all in communities across Dorset, Hampshire and London. It will also be used to safeguard highly skilled jobs in the live performance sector that would otherwise be lost.

Chris Symons, BH Live, Chief Executive said:

We are incredibly grateful for this financial lifeline. This much needed award will secure the future of cultural events for the communities we serve. We will be able to retain some of our talented team and bring forward essential investment in service and event technology which is now needed more than ever. It will enable us to meet ongoing costs while our venues are in hibernation and assist us in getting our venues ready and Covid-secure – providing essential reassurance for our customers and colleagues.”

Furthermore, in collaboration with resident & visiting companies, BH Live is planning to deliver a series of community events and socially distanced performances to encourage audiences back into its venues as soon as they can viably reopen.



Notes to Editors:

For more information about BH Live please contact:

Elizabeth Symmons, PR & Corporate Communications

About BH Live

BH Live is a leading operator of leisure and event venues; a social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives. BH Live operates venues, theatres and leisure centres across Dorset, Hampshire and London including Bournemouth International Centre and Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

Our social objectives are to:

  • Encourage more people to take part in physical activity– by providing leisure facilities to encourage active communities and improve health and wellbeing.
  • Attract bigger entertainment audiences– with a diverse range of cultural and artistic events that appeal to a wide variety of tastes.
  • Deliver economic benefit– by hosting major conferences, exhibitions and events that benefit the local, regional and international economy.

For more visit

Get social with us:
LinkedIn and Twitter @BHLIVE_UK
Facebook @SocialEnterpriseBHLive

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 billion for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at

About #HereForCulture

Here for Culture is a movement that unites the public, government and cultural organisations in support of our fantastic cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage.

Whether on the global stage or quietly in our own lives, culture inspires, uplifts, comforts and entertains us. Now, in these challenging times, it’s our turn to provide a lifeline and show our support. The government is #HereForCulture with an unprecedented £1.57 billion of funding coming through on top of the furlough scheme, bounce-back loans and emergency grants. The public has been #HereForCulture as organisations have innovated online and outdoors.

Join us to show your support – whether it’s announcing or welcoming funding or promoting online or covid-secure ways to experience and enjoy culture.

About Bournemouth International Centre

Bournemouth International Centre is operated by BH Live in partnership with BCP Council.

Set in the heart of Bournemouth, with panoramic views across the bay, it is the south coast’s premier conference, exhibition, entertainment, and hospitality venue, with licensed capacity for up to 10,000 visitors.  Four main halls and a variety of smaller meeting and hospitality areas can be scaled to host events such as multi-hall conferences, exhibitions, meetings, music concerts, dance and comedy performances.

For more visit Get social with us:

Twitter @BHLIVE_UK and @bhlivetickets
Facebook @BournemouthInternationalCentre

About Bournemouth Pavilion

Bournemouth Pavilion is operated by BH Live in partnership with BCP Council.

This Grade II listed venue opened in March 1929. It has a 1,500-seat theatre and full-sized ballroom. The venue hosts musicals, opera, ballet, pantomime, comedy, gala dinners, banquets, receptions, fairs, dances and fashion shows throughout the year.

Its facilities complement events at Bournemouth International Centre and for corporate presentations, product launches, and smaller conferences and exhibitions.

Bournemouth Pavilion is also home to Pavilion Dance South West and the Pavilion at AUB rehearsal and teaching space for the Arts University Bournemouth.

For more visit

Get social with us: Twitter @BHLIVE_UK and @bhlivetickets

About Fairfield Halls, Croydon

Fairfield Halls is operated by BH Live in partnership with Croydon Council.

It hosts a year-round diverse programme of events including concerts, cultural events, classical performances, music, dance, comedy, theatre productions, community events, conferences and exhibitions, meetings and banquets.

Spaces include the 809-seat Ashcroft Theatre, the world-class 1,802-seat Concert Hall famed for its acoustics, The Recreational (a 750-capacity standing live music venue), John Whitgift Community Cube, Fairfield Business Lounge, a Terrace Café and Bistro.  Its Arnhem Foyer, a community hub with a free programme of events and exhibitions, is named after Croydon’s twin-town of Arnhem in Holland.

With a long and distinguished history, Fairfield Halls is at the heart of Croydon’s new cultural quarter.  Talawa, the UK’s primary Black led touring theatre company, the award-winning and inclusive Savvy Theatre Company, and London Mozart Players are companies in residence. Chineke! Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) are orchestras in partnership. Educational and learning programmes are delivered in the venue’s Yamaha Music School.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother opened Fairfield Halls on Friday 2 November 1962. The inaugural concert in the Concert Hall was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent, with renowned soloist Yehudi Menuhin also performing. The Ashcroft Theatre was opened on 5 November 1962 by Croydon-born Dame Peggy Ashcroft.

For more visit

Get social with us:

Facebook @fairfieldcroydon

Twitter @fairfieldhalls