£35,000 lottery grant 'a lifeline' says Babylon ARTS

Babylon ARTS' Postcard Project saw 120 postcards sent across the region for a real-life and online exhibition.

Babylon ARTS' Postcard Project saw 120 postcards sent across the region for a real-life and online exhibition. - Credit: BABYLON ARTS

Ely-based Babylon ARTS have shared how a grant of £34,950 provided a "lifeline" to help them survive the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Lockdown meant no income but thanks to the National Lottery funding boost from Arts Council England, the Ely gallery was able to get back on track.

Claire Somerville, chief executive said: “National Lottery funding was a lifeline for us – that emergency grant afforded us the breathing space to reorganise all of our work.

Babylon ARTS' Postcard Project saw 120 postcards sent across the region for a real-life and online exhibition.

Babylon ARTS' Postcard Project saw 120 postcards sent across the region for a real-life and online exhibition. - Credit: BABYLON ARTS

“We had to do that completely from the ground up again – and continue building the connections that we had with the local community.

“With hindsight, it gave us a massive opportunity – it meant that I could pay the team and we could pay the rent, so that grant had a significant impact.

“The emergency funding we’ve received has meant we’re doing better than surviving.


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"We’re trying new things, we’ve built new partnerships and I’m hoping to carry on building on those. 

Babylon ARTS' Postcard Project saw 120 postcards sent across the region for a real-life and online exhibition.

Babylon ARTS' Postcard Project saw 120 postcards sent across the region for a real-life and online exhibition. - Credit: BABYLON ARTS

"This has afforded us an opportunity to think again and try new things – and I’m trying to take the positives.”

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As well as running an independent cinema, Babylon ARTS' Postcard Project saw 120 postcards sent across the region for a real-life and online exhibition.

Claire is optimistic for the year ahead: “The funding has helped us innovate and lay the foundations for a brighter future.


Babylon Arts

Babylon Arts, Ely - Credit: Babylon Arts

“We’re looking to build on some of our new ways of working – outdoor work that we’ve started doing and are looking to grow.

“Without the funding, we wouldn’t exist and therefore we wouldn’t be able to do those things.”

Lockdown meant the project’s income ground to a halt but thanks to a National Lottery grant of £34,950 from Arts Council England, Claire and her team were able to get back on track.  

Claire says Babylon Arts’ innovative Postcard Project meant it functioned as a key creative outlet in Ely and the funding was central to their efforts. 

The project captured the imagination of dozens of local people, with 120 postcards being sent in across the region to facilitate both a real life, and online, exhibition. 

She said that with hindsight, the grant gave them a massive opportunity. 

“It meant that I could pay the team and we could pay the rent, so that grant had a significant impact," she said. 

“The emergency funding we’ve received has meant we’re doing better than surviving. We’re trying new things; we’ve built new partnerships and I’m hoping to carry on building on those.”  

“This has afforded us an opportunity to think again and try new things – and I’m trying to take the positives.” 

Babylon Arts is one of thousands of projects nationwide to have benefited from the £30 million raised by National Lottery players every week. 





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