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Covid: Blackpool Tower Ballroom awarded £760k funding

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe grant will be used to restore the ballroom's period ceiling

Blackpool Tower Ballroom has been awarded £764,000 from the government's £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

The grant will be used to restore the ceiling of the home of British ballroom dancing, which opened in 1894.

It is the latest in a series of funds awarded to cultural venues as they deal with the impact of coronavirus.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the grant would "help restore this beautiful ballroom so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come".

The funding was announced as Strictly Come Dancing celebrates the landmark venue in Saturday's episode.

image captionThe Blackpool ballroom often puts a spring in the step of Strictly Come Dancing pairs

At the halfway point in the series, the show was due to be broadcast from the ballroom but the programme will instead host a special from the studios in Elstree due to the pandemic.

Head judge Shirley Ballas, who won a number of titles as a dancer at the ballroom, said she was "overjoyed" by the funding announcement.

"It is a town steeped in ballroom dance history and somewhere everyone hopes to dance one day," she said.

Fellow judge and dancer Anton du Beke said it was "wonderful" news, adding that the grant provided "important funding to keep the art of ballroom dancing alive for generations to come".

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe ballroom was opened in 1894

The grant, awarded to Blackpool Council by Historic England on behalf of the government, will be used to restore the ballroom's period plasterwork ceiling, which is in the Grade I-listed Tower Buildings.

Local crafts specialists will carry out the work during the venue's current period of closure.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said the venue "played a hugely significant role in the history and popular culture of our country for over 125 years, as a landmark in British seaside architecture and tourism".

About £500m has already been awarded by the government to venues across England after the pandemic led to a fall in visitor numbers and income.

Funds have also been allocated for the rest of the UK, including £97m for Scotland, £59m for Wales and £33m for Northern Ireland.

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