Covid-19 Resilience Fund
Emergency support makes an impact in the North and nationwide

National Lottery funding supports independent film exhibitors throughout ongoing sector disruption.

Together with colleagues across the BFI Film Audience Network, we launched the Covid-19 Resilience Fund on 15 April 2020 with the aim of providing critical relief to independent film exhibitors affected by venue closures. Using repurposed National Lottery funding – and a contribution from the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund in the capital – the Covid-19 Resilience Fund has supported 130 organisations across the UK at a time of great uncertainty for the sector.

In the North, we’ve made 20 awards and are providing grants to a range of organisations that make film culture possible in their communities. From multi-arts venues in Northumberland to community cinemas in Merseyside, the exhibitors we’re supporting champion cinema across the region and in their own ways throughout the sector. A list of current funding recipients can be found at the bottom of this page.

   Jam Jar Cinema has become a hub for our community, a key attraction for our high street and most importantly something that local people love. The reality is that without BFI Resilience funding all of the hard work, audience development and local buy-in would be lost as we probably wouldn't survive this crisis. This support gives us a fighting chance to reopen and we're using this time to figure out what we need to do differently, as well as identifying the important bits – the ones that make us who we are - to keep the same in the future. With this support, we hope we can work together with our audiences so that our organisation, our community and our town can thrive once again. Dan Ellis, Managing Director at Jam Jar Cinema

At Film Hub North, we know that the Resilience Fund is only the first step to recovery for the sector. Recent studies of the cinema and wider cultural industries have made it clear that independent film exhibitors still face stark challenges in order to reopen and engage with audiences once again. Our job is not yet done and we are committed to supporting our Members with their ongoing resilience planning.

Going forward, we will continue to consult with and advocate for film organisations in the North. And, with our colleagues across the BFI Film Audience Network, we will work to support the independent film sector throughout this period of disruption and beyond.

   Redirecting National Lottery and Mayor of London funding to make emergency grants to our independent exhibitors has proved to be a lifeline, enabling our fantastic venues, cinemas and festivals across the UK to remain in business in the immediate term. However, it is clear that these vital and unique organisations, which are crucial to the rich cultural fabric of their local communities, are still in crisis. When allowed to reopen, safely implementing social distancing guidance will not only be logistically impossible for some, but many are also unlikely to cover their costs when operating at reduced capacity. Losing these exhibitors would be a huge cultural loss for UK audiences, so I am pleased the Film Audience Network has been able to help them keep the lights on while we all face the oncoming challenges. Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences at the British Film Institute

If you work in the film industry and want further information about Covid-19 and the support measures put in place by the Hub and our colleagues at the BFI, take a look at our Covid-19 advice page and the BFI’s screen industry updates. If you’re based in the North of England and want to talk to a member of our team, get in touch via email at:

Covid-19 Resilience Fund Awardees

  • Alnwick Playhouse
  • ARC Stockton
  • Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
  • Chorley Theatre
  • Day For Night Film & Visual Art
  • Forum Cinema, Hexham
  • Grimmfest
  • Hebden Bridge Picture House
  • Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds
  • Jam Jar Cinema, Whitley Bay
  • Keswick Alhambra Cinema
  • Leigh Film Society
  • Lucem House Community Cinema Plus+
  • Saltburn Community & Arts Association
  • Savoy Cinema, Heaton Moor
  • Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
  • Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle
  • Storyhouse, Chester
  • The Dukes, Lancaster
  • The Rex Cinema, Wilmslow