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​​​​​​​City's cultural venues working hard to ensure a bright future

Swansea's cultural icons like the Grand Theatre, Glynn Vivian and Swansea Museum will be raring to go when the Welsh Government says they can re-open.


Council-operated cultural services, libraries and sport development programmes have been awarded a total of £1.2m in grants to help cover overheads during the pandemic and to prepare for the day they're given the Welsh Government's green light.

The Grand Theatre has been playing an entirely new role to a different kind of audience during the pandemic as a city centre unit where visitors are tested for Covid-19. However, work has continued on its new website, branding and creation of community space as part of the council's partnership with Race Council Cymru to create a cultural and digital hub for all.

The Glynn Vivian and museum services have been working on conservation and maintenance, as well as taking their treasures online. This has allowed supporters to enjoy the services on the occasions when venue doors have been closed as part of the effort to keep the city safe from the virus.

Many members of the sports development team have spent their pandemic working for their communities in a range of services. These have included helping sports clubs and teams to access grants, tackling maintenance at outdoor attractions and delivering exercise referral programmes and online fitness programmes. 

During the first lockdown officers supported the food network, area coordination and also worked as contact tracers, supporting the council's efforts to tackle the impact of the pandemic and to protect vulnerable people. They're now back working hard on future plans and partnerships to benefit the longer term recovery of services and the community.

The grant funding gained by the council is due to be reported to the council's cabinet next week (note: Feb 18).

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said the funding will help ensure that key cultural treasures will be ready to welcome people back just as soon as it's possible to do so.

He said: "The Grand Theatre has probably seen the greatest changes to its operation this past year. It's been a blood donation centre and walk-in test centre, but we can't wait to see it reopen, with its new branding and offer as soon as we're able to.

"The grant funding of around £900,000 from Welsh Government and Arts Council Wales will help us to ensure long-time fans and future generations of audiences will be able to enjoy it later.

"I want to pay tribute to all our staff who have gone the extra mile for their communities during the pandemic.

"Since last March Swansea Council has built a hospital, protected our care homes, supported thousands of vulnerable people shielding from the virus and continued to provide many day-to-day services none of us can do without.

"Our staff are brilliant examples of the commitment, willingness and good humour that's been the story of thousands of our people who've transformed their working lives to be here for Swansea every single day of this pandemic."

The report to cabinet states that the grants obtained from Welsh Government and other sources would help cover lost income, staff re-deployment and preparing venues like Swansea Museum for re-opening in a post-pandemic world.

The cash is in addition to grants of more than £400,000 in grants Welsh Government has paid out via the council to help tide over those working in the creative industries locally.

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