AN arts and cultural centre in Taunton was saved from “closing indefinitely” during the pandemic by a grant from the Government's Culture Recovery Fund.

The Creative Innovation Centre Community Interest Company (CIC) was one of 340 organisations across the UK that benefitted the final round of funding. 

The money was used to help organisations in need of financial support because of the the restrictions imposed after the emergence of the omicron variant in December. 

Since August 2020, the fund has distributed £1.57 billion to around 5,000 organisations and sites including theatres, museums, and independent cinemas.

The Creative Innovation Centre received a total of £32,989 in the fund's final round, of which the recipients were announced yesterday.

The centre is located in Taunton's Memorial Hall and describes itself as "an exciting place where being enterprising about your community or creative practice is what we are all about". 

It provides a rehearsal space for musicians and dance groups, hosts community meetings and activities, and welcomes audiences for comedy shows, exhibitions, live music, and poetry.

In January, the centre won the SME Southern Enterprise programme's award for 'Best Arts & Culture Centre 2021 – South West England’ for its role in supporting and developing arts and culture. 

Somerset County Gazette: The Creative Innovation Centre (CIC) is based at the Memorial Hall in Paul Street, Taunton. Picture: Google MapsThe Creative Innovation Centre (CIC) is based at the Memorial Hall in Paul Street, Taunton. Picture: Google Maps

Arts Council England distributed a share of the money to the centre, which applied for funding in December. 

Richard Holt, Creative Innovation Centre director, said: “We were successful in obtaining a grant which subsidised the running costs of the business during the months that the restrictions were in place.

“We are very grateful to the arts council for this support as we would have had to close the business indefinitely as we wouldn’t have been able to pay the bills.

“The good news is that audiences are returning in their droves and we are getting close to a sustainable level of turnover to meet our costs and future staffing needs.

“If you take a look at our website, you will see a jam-packed programme of arts and creative activities which has been designed to support the creative needs of the community we serve.

“We hope to further develop this programme to provide outreach arts provision for rural communities around Taunton and working with other local arts organistions provide specific support for young people and arts engagement programmes.”

Other Somerset-based businesses to have received a grant are illumaphonium (£26,000), The Pyro Studio Limited (£38,666), Frome Cheese and Grain (£45,000), and Metta Theatre (£160,000).

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, said: “This additional round of the Emergency Resource Support Fund has provided a vital lifeline to creative and cultural organisations who have faced further challenges whilst recovering from the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We once again thank the government for its unprecedented support for our creative and cultural industries.

“The £35 million awarded in cultural recovery funding is helping to support the sector as it continues to welcome back visitors, reinvigorate communities, champion local talent, and ensure every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences wherever they are in the country.”

To learn more about the Creative Innovation Centre CIC, visit