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Big Difference Company Receives Lifeline Grant From Government's £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

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Big Difference Company has produced Leicester Comedy Festival every February since 1994.

Big Difference Company Receives Lifeline Grant From Government's £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

Big Difference Company has been awarded £105,000 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. The funding will help sustain the festival through the current crisis and will also allow the charity to work with more comedians who have had their work massively reduced over recent months.

Big Difference is one of the cultural and Big Difference is one of the cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. The investment has been announced today as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.

Big Difference Company has produced Leicester Comedy Festival every February since 1994 and the event has grown into the biggest and longest running comedy festival in the UK. Leicester Comedy Festival 2020 was one of the last national live festivals to take place before the pandemic hit England and the lockdown process began. This funding will ensure the 2021 festival will take place in February and help support the future of the charity and festival.

Leicester Comedy Festival makes a significant contribution to the cultural life of England, usually featuring over 1,000 comedians, performing in over 90 venues to an audience of 135,000. The festival also has an estimated economic impact of over £3million per year to the local economy. As part of the festival, the charity works closely with local community groups to ensure the smile spreads as widely as possible by organising workshops and activities, which engage hundreds of people each year.

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."

Geoff Rowe, Founding Director of Leicester Comedy Festival said "we are delighted with this support and we are indebted to Arts Council England and DCMS for the Culture Recovery grant which will help secure a future for the festival and our community programme. Leicester Comedy Festival has grown so much since it started in 1994 and we remain committed to the event being a real celebration of British comedy. We are now actively planning for February 2021 when we will present the festival, alongside The UK Kids' Comedy Festival which has already made an impact since we set it up 2 years ago."

Laura Arends, CEO of Big Difference Company, said "what we do each year would not be possible without the support from so many partners who get involved and help us develop the festival. Our main partners Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and Union JACK Radio but also a growing number of other businesses who get involved, alongside schools, faith groups, other charities, and of course the local, regional and national live entertainment community of promoters, venues, managers and agents. Together we all love comedy and humour and this funding will help us support comedians and performers and develop our annual showcase of British comedy."

Leicester Comedy Festival 2021, and The UK Kids' Comedy Festival, will be launched on 4th November and further details will be available from www.comedy-festival.co.uk.



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