Melton cinema gets near £100k Covid fundling lifeline

Melton’s cinema has been given nearly £100,000 in government funding to help keep it going through the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 21st December 2020, 8:50 am
Updated Monday, 21st December 2020, 9:45 am
The Regal Cinema in Melton EMN-200710-094035001

The Regal, in King Street, is one of more than 200 independent picture houses across England to receive a share of £16million allocated through the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

Owners of the family run cinema, which is currently closed as part of Covid restrictions which do not allow indoor entertainment to be offered in areas of the country in Tier 3, say the money will ‘secure the future of the business’.

The Regal was closed for six months to September as the pandemic took hold on the nation and reopened with stringent social distancing measures in place, only to have to close again early in November for the second lockdown.

Reacting to the news that his Melton cinema will receive more than £90,000 in funding, manager Jacob Mundin told the Melton Times: “It’s brilliant news.

“This money will basically cover our costs until the end of March and secure the future of the business.

“It helps us get through to the release of the James Bond movie at Easter and we are hoping now to reopen before then, in the middle of February, if restrictions allow.”

The two periods of closure of the cinema this year meant it missed out on anticipated big takings from blockbuster movies, such as the new James Bond film No Time To Die, which have been re-scheduled for release in 2021.

Staff at The Regal had started showing films which they were unable to show during the first lockdown - like Military Wives, Jojo Rabbit and Summerland - but that has now been ended by the second enforced closure.

Jacob added: “The support we’ve had from the Melton community has been incredible.

“So many people have renewed their memberships until 2022 and people have been randomly sending us money to help.

“We are hoping people will enjoy coming back to the cinema when we are allowed to reopen and we have a few big films coming out next year like Top Gun, Blithe Spirit and Peter Rabbit.”

Almost £1million in government funding has now been given out to help prop up culture and arts businesses in Melton and Rutland this year, which illustrates the impact the virus restrictions have had on the sector.

MP Alicia Kearns, who serves as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said she was ‘utterly delighted’ with the grant given to The Regal, adding: “We are proud of our creative industries in this country, and so is the government.

“I am particularly proud that the CRF has gone to protect what the writer William Ivory called ‘the finest cinema in England’, and I am delighted that we have been able to help this wonderful community institution.”

The Regal also received £8,375 from the fund in the first awards made by the British Film Institute in October and the money helped the business meet the extra costs of making the venue Covid-safe for customers and staff.

Explaining why the funding help has been given, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The magic of film is such an important part of the festive period and this investment will help protect our independent cinemas so they’re around for many Christmases to come.”

***If you are looking to buy late Christmas presents, gift vouchers for The Regal Cinema can now be bought at Foxy Lots gift shop which is opposite the cinema in King Street. They can then be used when it reopens when restrictions are eased in 2021.