THEATRES and heritage sites in Tendring have been awarded tens of thousands of pounds to help them survive Covid-19.

The funding comes from the Government’s £1.57billion Cultural Recovery Fund, set up to ensure venues can withstand the impact of coronavirus.

The first round of funding, worth £67million, has been shared out amongst 433 successful applicants and includes £32,800 for Walton’s Naze Tower, £75,400 for the St Osyth Priory Trust and £68,000 for Frinton Summer Theatre, as well as the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton.

Former actor turned Clacton MP Giles Watling was one of those who led the campaign calling on the Government to save theatres in the wake of Covid-19.

Mr Watling, who is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Theatre, named Frinton Summer Theatre in Parliament as he campaigned for funding for the arts sector.

Clive Brill, artistic director for the summer theatre, said with no hope of any income, the future of the theatre was at risk.

He said: “Frinton Summer Theatre would have celebrated its 80th glorious season this year but all our plans and fund-raising efforts had to be put on hold because of Covid and our entire programme was lost, disappointing a very loyal audience.

“This grant has put us back on a stable footing and we can immediately move forward with our plans for next season which will include special events in the run up to next summer.

"We are over the moon."

Frinton Summer Theatre was formed in 1934, making it the longest-running summer repertory theatre in the UK.

Rob Mitchell-Gears, manager of Clacton’s West Cliff Theatre, was also thrilled by the grant.

“We are working towards getting performances running again and we need everyone to come and support us over the coming months,” he said.

“Never has it been more vital for people to support their local venues and we can’t wait to welcome people back.”

Michelle Nye-Browne, co-director at the Grade II listed Naze Tower, added: “This year has been incredibly tough for us.

“This grant provides the support we urgently needed to keep us afloat and enable us to reopen in March.”

Mr Watling welcomed the grants. He said: “Having lobbied the Government for the creation of the fund, I am thrilled this money is now being delivered locally to help our heritage sites and cultural attractions weather the storm and be there for future generations to enjoy.

“As we get through this unprecedented pandemic, these local assets, and the tremendous work done there, can undoubtedly play a part in our recovery.

“They are a key part of our tourism offer in Tendring, and I thank for Government for this financial support, which will ensure that the jobs and economic contribution they provide will be protected.”