Phoenix 2020 artist impression

Phoenix awarded £4 million towards expansion plan by Arts Council England

We're delighted to have received confirmation that Arts Council England will invest £4 million of National Lottery money towards Phoenix 2020.

Investment brings Phoenix closer to its fundraising target

Phoenix is delighted to have received confirmation that Arts Council England will invest £4 million of National Lottery money towards Phoenix 2020 – its plans to expand its current building and become a four screen independent cinema by 2020.

The plans will see a 1,200 square metre extension added to the existing building. This will make space for two further cinema screens; a larger and more prominent digital art gallery with an atrium; a bigger café bar; and new spaces for making and learning.

Arts Council’s investment brings Phoenix closer to the £7 million it requires to complete the full project by the end of 2020. Planning permission for the development has been awarded and Phoenix expects to have 83% of the funding in place by the end of April. The charity is working hard to raise at least £500,000 more in the coming months to enable building to start later this year.

John Rance, Chief Executive of Phoenix said: “This is a great opportunity for us to put digital art and film in more accessible and visible spaces for exhibition, learning and creativity. With Arts Council’s generous support we have taken a major step towards realising our ambition to reach out to a much wider and diverse population in and around Leicester.

“We are close to reaching our fundraising target and would welcome all the support we can get to help us reach the finish line.”

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: ‘This is fantastic news for Leicester. Arts and culture play a vital role in making the area a great place to live, work, study and visit, and we’re pleased to be investing in a project which will benefit so many local people and their communities. By ensuring arts and cultural venues have the buildings and equipment they need, we are helping to ensure the region’s creative economy will thrive.

“It is also a great opportunity for Phoenix to do something really ambitious – to expand its space, work with technology in new ways and continue to connect with Leicester’s growing population. Phoenix has firmly established itself as a centre for digital arts and independent cinema in one of the UK’s most diverse cities and we look forward to seeing it mark its 30th anniversary as a charity in 2019.”

Cllr Adam Clarke, deputy city mayor with responsibility for St George’s Cultural Quarter said: “It’s excellent news that the Arts Council has confirmed its funding for the expansion of Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre.

“Since Phoenix moved into the Cultural Quarter nine years ago, it has more than doubled its visitor numbers and generates around £2.6m in visitor spending into Leicester’s economy. Its expansion will help to attract more visitors to the area and boost Leicester’s reputation as a centre for the arts and creative industries.

“I’m delighted the city council’s commitment made last year to invest £1m in the project has helped to secure the Arts Council funding, and wish Phoenix luck in obtaining the remaining funds needed.”

The £4 million grant is part of Arts Council’s Capital funding programme. This money comes from the National Lottery and is designed to ensure companies and venues have the buildings and equipment they need to provide great artistic and cultural experiences to their local communities. One of just a few regional centres in the UK specialising in digital culture and creativity, Phoenix engages communities in diverse areas across Leicester and Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire, through digital arts, film making and community cinema.

Leicester Arts Centre Limited (Phoenix) is also an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and over 2018-22 will receive £80,464 each year to support its digital art programme.