LUDLOW Assembly Rooms has been able to secure its future with a £100,000 lifeline.

The venue that hopes to reopen in the spring of next year has been awarded £97,250 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help places like the Assembly Rooms face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.

Voluntary chief executive at the Assembly Rooms Helen Hughes has described the money as a lifeline for the troubled building.

“These last few months have been extraordinarily difficult for both the Trustees who manage the charity and for the staff, who have been unstinting in their support,” said Ms Hughes.

“This lifeline provides an urgently needed respite for the charity and a springboard for the operation of this much loved local facility for the whole community of Ludlow.”

Ludlow Assembly Rooms has suffered a double whammy – the building project, due to take five months to complete, will have been running for 30 months by the time it is finished. During the first period the Assembly Rooms maintained its support for the community by keeping classes and a reduced arts programme going, but the coronavirus put paid to everything.

Utility bills and other costs are still higher than any income it has received since closing in March 2019. This revenue funding grant will be a lifeline until it is able to reopen in spring 2021.

But the troubles are not over as the charity will still need to find extra capital to fund such items as a replacement film projector.

The building has taken so long to repair because it was found to be in a much worse condition that had been anticipated.

Gareth Williams, chair of Ludlow Assembly Rooms, says that the money means that the arts venue can face the future with confidence.

“Throughout our long period of first building work and then total closure forced by the coronavirus, we have stood by the community and Ludlow and by our loyal and hardworking staff,” Mr Williams said.

“This vital revenue funding means we can look ahead with confidence to being able to reopen in the spring, even if we still have more money to raise to fully finish the task we have set ourselves.”

The Assembly Rooms when it is open provides live theatre, comedy and music, shows films and provides a range of community activities. It is home to the town’s Visitor Information Centre and provides meeting facilities.

“I am pleased the appeal to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has been successful and Ludlow Assembly Rooms, the main community arts venue in south Shropshire, will receive this support in recognition of its importance to the arts in the area,” said Ludlow MP Philip Dunne.

“This will help keep the show on the road so there is an active programme when the building reopens next spring after its prolonged major refurbishment,”