Leicester nightclub and venue receives funding after being closed for months during COVID-19 lockdown

by Molly Kerridge

A local Leicestershire music venue was granted money from the Government as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund last week, meaning it can hopefully open its doors again in 2021.

The front entrance of The Shed in Yeoman Street, which has been closed for months.

Elisabeth Carley-Leonard, venue owner at The Shed in Yeoman Street, applied for the fund after struggling to pay staff and bills to keep the music venue and nightclub running during the lockdown months this year.

Watch the full video interview here:

She said: “Getting the Cultural Recovery Fund has been such a huge, huge relief for me.

“Everything, absolutely everything was weighing on this application, I think we were down to the last 50 quid in our bank account, and I still had staff and bills to pay.”

The Cultural Recovery Fund is a £1.57 billion sum that has been funded through the Government and Arts Council England to help music venues, from small grass root locations such as The Shed, to venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.

Before the application was accepted, Elisabeth decided to sell old furniture, clothes and other items from the club to make some extra money to help her and her family survive until the venue could safely open again.

She continued: “You had to go through the most convoluted application process ever, so I spent a week literally sobbing at my computer because I was so stressed.

“I found out last week that we’d finally got it, which meant everything. We originally applied for 65,000 and was awarded 50,000 which is still a huge amount of money, which means we can safely survive the winter, and be able to open in the spring next year.”

During the application process, Elisabeth had to gather comments from people explaining why they should get the funding for the venue. She put out a post on Facebook, which accumulated a huge amount of comments from regulars and people in the community.

She said: “I thought we’d get maybe 20 or 30 comments, but we got over 200 comments from people saying how much this place means to them.

“It’s not just a place where you go and see your mates’ band anymore, it’s a second home to some people, it’s so much more than four walls and a PA.”

People have also offered to work for free behind the bar, or on the sound system when the venue opens again, to make the process easier.

Elisabeth said: “This place means so much to so many people, and yes, this year has been shitty, yes, this virus is an asshole but what it has given me is a new found love, respect and admiration for this venue and the people who come. It hardly seems like a business anymore, it’s my whole heart.”

While The Shed stays closed currently due to current Coronavirus restrictions, Elisabeth remains hopeful that they will be able to open safely in the spring next year.

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