Corn Exchange awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund

The Corn Exchange in Wallingford has been awarded a total sum of £40,700, (payable in three stages) from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, setup to ensure that arts venues are able to continue operation despite the current Covid pandemic. The award was made by the British Film Institute on behalf of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and reflects the association between the BFI and independent cinemas through the Film Audience Network. The Corn Exchange is a member of the FilmHub South East network and thus has access to a wide portfolio of British, independent and foreign films.

We have been showing a broad range of films since 1980 when we purchased the building and turned it into a theatre.

So the shutdown in March was very difficult. As many of you know, the Corn Exchange relies on income from the cinema to maintain the building and equipment. So we’ve had to dig deep into the reserves to pay all the operating costs and ensure that we could open again at the end of September, fully Covid safety compliant.

We’d like to thank the loyal audience that came back in September and again in December after the second lockdown. But the restriction on seat numbers because of social distancing regulations meant that only a third of the available seats could be sold. And many of you, particularly those who are shielding, are staying away which we totally understand and sympahise with. So whilst there has been an inflow of revenue again it is not enough to balance the books.

So the BFI grant is a lifeline for us and will ensure that the new season in 2021 starts on a positive note with sufficient funds to continue operating safely and comfortably.

Fiona Smith, Chair of the Corn Exchange said “We’re extremely grateful to the BFI and the DCMS for this grant. It reflects the importance to the people of Wallingford for this, their only cinema. We look forward to welcoming them back in ever increasing numbers over the next few months.”