'This money is a lifeline' - nationally-renowned opera house in the Harborough district given £85,000 grant

The Nevill Holt Opera lost 85 per cent of its income after being forced to cancel their traditional smash-hit summer opera festival by the Covid-19 outbreak

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 10:50 am
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 10:54 am
The Nevill Holt Opera.
The Nevill Holt Opera.

A nationally-renowned opera house in the Harborough district is being thrown a crucial £85,000 pandemic lifeline by the Government.

The Nevill Holt Opera, based near Medbourne, is thrilled after being handed the cash grant from the Culture Recovery Fund.

Annie Lydford, managing director of the outstanding arts venue, said: “We are absolutely delighted.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult eight months for us.”

She said they had lost a devastating 85 per cent of their income after being forced to cancel their traditional smash-hit summer opera festival by the Covid-19 outbreak.

“This money is a lifeline – it was a very celebratory day for us,” said Annie.

She said the emergency cash would keep them “afloat” and help them survive after they have been buffeted by an enormously tough year.

Nevill Holt Opera is one of 96 arts organisations in the East Midlands, and about 1,300 nationwide, to share a £275 million coronavirus crisis pot.

Some £46,000 is being given to the Northampton and Lamport Railway while Leicester’s Curve Theatre is being awarded almost £1 million.

Meanwhile, Leicestershire County Council is being handed £71,500 as part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The money will be spent to develop the education programme at its five heritage and museum sites – including Harborough Museum, based in the Symington Building on Market Harborough’s Adam and Eve Street.

The education scheme has already been praised for its high quality.

Cllr Richard Blunt, the county council’s cabinet member for heritage, leisure and arts, said: “We're delighted to have secured the grant.

"This invaluable funding will enable our heritage and museum sites to make any changes needed to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of schools and targeted groups and that it's sustainable too.”

He added: “Our five heritage and museum sites tell a host of inspiring stories which have captivated the attention of visitors of all ages for many years.

“But Covid-19 has changed the way all our visitors, including schools, can access these amazing stories.

“This funding will allow us to think about how we work differently, on site and, in the digital world, ensuring that children and young people have the opportunity to immerse themselves in these special places and engage with the objects that have shaped our wonderful county.”