Words by The Water Receives Lifeline Grant From Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

Ways With Words (organisers of the Words by the Water Festival of Words and Ideas in Keswick, Cumbria) has been awarded £117,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Ways With Words is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Ways With Words has been hosting live literary events and festivals of words and ideas for the past 29 years in Southwold, Suffolk; Keswick, Cumbria and Dartington Hall in Devon. 2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year with festivals in Devon and Suffolk both cancelled and the Words by the Water festival in Cumbria cut short. Not only was this was disappointing for our loyal audiences who missed the opportunity to see and question the country's top writers and thinkers in person but it also impacted the local economy. Each festival involves teams of freelancers and technicians who are vital to these events and also brings many visitors to local hotels, pubs and restaurants. Ways With Words has been planning COVID-safe alternatives and will host a series of literary events online between November and February and return to our three live festivals a year as soon as it is safe to do so.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Ways With Words Director Leah Varnell, said: “This award has really given us the lifeline we needed and we are really grateful to the Arts Council and friends of the festival who have been making donations. We will be able to bring new voices to our audiences in new ways and it allows us to plan for future literary festivals”