Berkshire Maestros secures more than £375,000 from Arts Council

BERKSHIRE Maestros has been awarded more than £375,000 as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

Announced by the Arts Council today, the funding will allow Maestros to continue its music education activities in schools and for families across the county.

The charity is also hoping to launch two live bands, one instrumental, one rock, that will perform in schools across the county. 

Dawn Wren, CEO of Berkshire Maestros, said she is delighted to receive the funding.

“The last year has been challenging for everyone, and as the largest music education provider in the county we have worked hard with schools and families to ensure music can continue as much as possible,” she said. “We have heard many times that our music lessons have been vital for young people’s wellbeing and mental health during lockdown.”

She said the pandemic has heavily impacted the charity budget.

“This grant will enable us to rebuild the group activities and events that we have missed so much, and to open up new musical opportunities for children who haven’t yet benefited from learning an instrument or making music with others.”

This is the second time the organisation has secured funding.

RABBLE Theatre, the Reading-based company that has been leading the charge to save Reading Gaol, also received a grant of £72,500 from the Government.

Toby Davies, RABBLE’s artistic director, said: “This is incredibly good news, both for RABBLE Theatre and for Reading.

“Arts Council England has, once again, chosen to support RABBLE and for that, we are exceptionally grateful.

“Our adult and youth acting classes and large-scale professional productions inside Reading’s most interesting spaces will continue, along with everything else we offer. We have a lot planned for the rest of the year and we can now approach these projects with real optimism.”

Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors — helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, said investing in the cultural sector can help the country recover from the pandemic. 

“These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work,” he said. “We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

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