Sub Rooms pledges to use government funding to benefit Stroud

Sunday 18 October, 2020

The ‘Delighted’ team at Stroud Sub Rooms has pledged to use a recently awarded government grant for the benefit of the wider community, to support the town’s recovery from the broader impact of the COVID19 pandemic.


The historic venue, which sits in the heart of Stroud, is one of hundreds of the cultural and creative organisations across the country who have been awarded urgently needed support to help them face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.


Just under 600 organisations were awarded a share of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) with The Sub Rooms securing £66,000.


Hugh Phillimore, volunteer director at The Subs said that the team were ‘delighted’ to have received the funding and were committed to using the money for the good of the community.


“This award means the difference between The Subs Rooms’ future looking incredibly dark, and a small glimmer of light in the distance – we’re delighted, but we are painfully aware that many people in our community are in similar positions.


“Throughout the pandemic we worked closely with the musicians and artists in Stroud, and further afield, to provide employment and support them as best as possible during this difficult time. Additionally, where safe we have provided free family entertainment – whilst ensuring that performers, many of whom have lost all income, were paid.


“We know that the affect that COVID19 has had on our community is far-reaching, and the impact will be felt in our fabulous independent shops as well as in our famous cultural community and in our personal mental health and wellbeing. Which is why we are publicly committing to providing a short-term plan to tackle each of these areas and support our incredible district.”


Over the past six months the venue has been preparing an extraordinary lighting exhibition put together by incredible Stroud artist Jack Wimperis – whose work was due to take centre stage during Glastonbury Festival’s 50th birthday celebrations – to bring joy to families who have been unable to attend festivals, events and shows over the summer.


The Installation, titled Everything is Light, will also allow the two-century old building to be one of the very few venues in the country to be able to host ‘Covid Safe’ gigs and concerts – with a wealth of internally acclaimed artists set to be announced soon.


Hugh continued, “We set Jack an almost impossible challenge, which he has not only met but surpassed.  The Subs is delighted to be working with an artist of his calibre, and we know that Stroud will feel very proud of what he has achieved.”


Stroud Subscription Rooms, which was saved from being sold into private ownership two years ago, has also been working with a number of local charities such as The Independence Trust and Stroud Women’s Refuge, and plan to announce details of more partnerships in the coming weeks.


“What’s astounding is how many people have stepped forward to help us – from d&b audio in Nailsworth who have arranged a state-of-the-art sound system for the installation, to SFL Group who usually provide sound for the Royal Albert Hall who have generously supplied equipment,” Hugh said.


“Even our COVID19 safety advice has been provided free of charge by Cotswold Printing in Gloucester. We know that this money is our opportunity to say thank you to the town and district.”


Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations. “These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”


Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.


“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis.  We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”



Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust is an independent charity which has been running the historic Subscription Rooms in Stroud for nearly two years.  Trustees are working closely with their landlords Stroud Town Council to safeguard the future of the purpose built arts, music and community venue.


Everything is Light is a light installation which features a maze of fantastic corridors and rooms designed and built by international artist Jack Wimperis who was due to design this years 50th anniversary Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival.


The attraction features a soundtrack by sound designers David Shepherd (Bjork, Sydney Festival, White Cube gallery, Anthony Gormley) and John Best (previous PR to The Verve, Sigur Ros and credited with launching ‘Brit Pop’).


The show will transform into a ‘Covid Safe’ venue in the evening and will feature local and national artists playing to VIP ‘pods’ lit by breath-taking individual light shows.


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. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk


Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 billion for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19