A second round of funding was opened in January to independent cinemas in England whose businesses have been unavoidably interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to continue to support them as they transition back to a viable and sustainable way of operating in the months ahead.

Applications for the second round of funding closed in February. We are currently assessing applications, aiming to finalise grants at the end of March, ahead of the start of the funding period starting 1 April 2021.

If your cinema is in urgent need of funds before 1 April 2021, as a matter of priority please contact us at audiences@bfi.org.uk.

About the Culture Recovery Fund

In order to help secure and maintain a healthy, resilient and world-class film exhibition sector for the future, we need to support independent cinemas through this unprecedented and challenging time. We also believe this is an important opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to a diverse and inclusive film culture – one which offers all audiences the opportunity to experience the full riches of on-screen storytelling. We want cinema to reflect our experiences and our lives as well as offering us different perspectives and opening up a world beyond our own. This is at its most powerful in the collective setting of a big-screen cinema venue.

The Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas is part of the UK government’s cultural recovery package providing £1.57 billion, the biggest ever single investment in this country’s cultural and heritage sectors. Please note that demand for this funding is high. As noted in our published guidance below, we may offer a reduced amount of funding to deduct any ineligible expenditure from your grant request, and may make other reductions based on the level of demand for funding.

As part of this package, the fund, administered by the BFI, has awarded a total of £21,080,662 to more than 207 independent cinemas across England, from Penrith to Penzance. This has meant that 77% of eligible cinemas for the fund have been awarded grants to date, of which 83% are located outside London. Find out more.

For venues in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, please contact your Screen Agencies for further information: NI Screen, Screen Scotland and Ffilm Cyrmu Wales.

For news and updates or sign up to our industry newsletter follow @BFI.


“The experience of sharing a film with others, hearing their gasps, laughter, upset – even their awed silence – is special. We come together in these special buildings, we see ourselves reflected, we learn from each other’s stories, we escape, we belong. Cinema is important. Independent cinemas need our support.” Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Guidelines and information

The following documents are for the Second Round of funding; the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England is now closed for new applications.  

Please ensure you have read the most up to date fund guidelines and FAQ before you complete the application form.

You will be required to complete the template below as part of your application.

Please note that you must use the budget template provided and you must attach it to your application as Microsoft Excel Worksheet (.xlsx). If you submit a .pdf version, your application will be considered ineligible and you will be asked to resubmit.

You will be required to submit an application online. Below is a preview of the application form but please do not email this form to us as we can only accept applications through our online application portal.