Press Release: £220,000 awarded from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme

£220,000 awarded to Kirkgate Arts & Heritage in Cockermouth from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme

· Kirkgate Arts & Heritage in Cockermouth to benefit from a share of £24.2 million through Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme

· The organisation will use the funds to improve the energy efficiency of the Kirkgate Centre, with new lighting throughout (including replacing the stage lighting with modern LED fittings), refurbish the lift and improve the temperature control in the auditorium.

· Awards from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme go towards building works and the purchase of equipment and other assets to improve access, seize on technological opportunities and reduce environmental impact.

8 May, 2024. Kirkgate Arts will receive £220,000 from Arts Council England, thanks to its Government-funded Capital Investment Programme, as announced today.

This investment from Arts Council England will make an enormous difference to the environmental impact of activities at the Kirkgate Centre. Using modern energy efficient lighting on stage will vastly reduce the centre’s electricity consumption, and mean no more performers melting under the old style halogen lamps!

Improvements to the air circulation in the auditorium will also make the space much more comfortable for performers and audiences alike. Accessibility is a battle in an old Victorian building and the lift is an essential for customers with mobility issues, as well as for moving equipment up into the auditorium.

A number of improvements have been made to the centre in recent years, all on a very tight budget. This injection of funding will enable Kirkgate Arts to make some big changes that would otherwise be out of reach financially.

This funding will enable us to continue providing high-quality creative and cultural experiences for people in Cockermouth.

The Capital Investment Programme supports the Arts Council’s mission to ensure communities across the country have the infrastructure where creativity for everyone can thrive.

Operations Manager Katie Gentry says ‘We are over the moon to be receiving this significant financial support from the Capital Investment Programme. There is now a lot of work to do on getting the ball rolling with the numerous aspects of the improvements, but we are confident we can do most of the work with minimal disruption to our usual programme of events. If you’d like to keep up with the progress of the improvements do sign up to our email list, we have a monthly newsletter as well as weekly updates on events.“

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “This infrastructure investment will help a whole range of different cultural organisations across England to flourish, increasing opportunities for people to enjoy creatively excellent cultural events close to where they live. It’s particularly important that we’re making this happen in communities where cultural investment has historically been low”.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Libraries, said: “Cultural venues enrich our lives, and it’s vital that their infrastructure matches the excellence of the creative work that goes on inside them.

“Our funding is helping both to create new venues and to adapt existing ones to make them more accessible, helping to deliver the Government’s plan to make sure that everyone, no matter where they live or what their background, has access to excellent, life-changing cultural opportunities.”

For further information please contact:


Notes to editors

Kirkgate Arts is a charity based in Cockermouth, Cumbria. It operates an arts and heritage centre as well as working with towns and villages in West Cumbria to encourage a diverse programme of arts, culture and entertainment. Its vision is to ensure that creative talent is valued, developed and supported with opportunities for all to engage actively with, and enjoy, the arts, local heritage and community life.

The Kirkgate Centre brings the best cultural, theatrical and entertainment events to Cumbria. From the best feature and documentary films to live streaming of top London shows, to local talent, heritage exhibitions, music, theatre, comedy and more, there is something for everyone.

In the historic Kirkgate Quarter of the Gem Town of Cockermouth, sitting on the edge of the Lake District National Park, the Kirkgate Centre is the perfect venue for special occasions, conferences, meetings, courses, exhibitions or private film screenings.

Kirkgate manages Arts Out West which stages performances in community venues from Furness to the Solway, ranging from nationally-recognised theatre companies to international musicians with events that are as much a social occasion as a performance. It is a member of the National Rural Touring Forum supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation.

Follow @kirkgatearts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

For more information:

Emma Heys 01900 829966

The Kirkgate Centre, Kirkgate, Cockermouth, CA13 9PJ

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a

country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £467 million of public money from Government and an estimated £250 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. (