£48million to safeguard the nation’s essential cultural heritage

  • The move is a major part of improving people’s access to the arts, supporting cultural assets and economic growth through culture.
  • Recipients include famous codebreakers site Bletchley Park, the internationally acclaimed Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and heritage site Berwick Barracks

Galleries, museums, libraries and other cultural venues across the country are set to benefit from £48million in funding which will improve people’s access to the arts, protect cultural assets for future generations and boost economic growth through to culture.

More than 60 organizations in England will receive a share of the funding which is being released as part of the government’s Culture Investment Fund, which was first unveiled in 2019.

Popular public venues such as the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, with its collection of internationally significant art and cultural objects, and the museum and former top-secret WWII decryption center, Bletchley Park , will receive funding.

Support will also go to smaller sites such as the True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum in King’s Lynn, which celebrates 900 years of the fishing industry, and heritage sites such as Berwick Barracks in Northumberland.

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

Culture is the foundation of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us understand our shared past and our shared future.

Today we are announcing a series of new funding for valuable cultural institutions across the country.

This will help them continue their great work, advance our work to improve access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions so that future generations can benefit from it.

Iain Standen, CEO of Bletchley Park Trust, said:

We are very grateful to DCMS and Arts Council England for their generous support through the Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND), which will help improve Bletchley Park’s aging electrical and water systems.

This work is currently beyond the reach of Bletchley Park Trust budgets as we rebuild our finances after the pandemic.

With this significant support, the Trust can continue the important restoration of this nationally and internationally significant heritage site, keeping the doors open for future generations.

Kate Mavor, Managing Director of English Heritage, which runs Berwick Barracks, said:

This major grant will help bring Berwick Barracks to life, unlocking and recommissioning buildings and empty spaces within this huge site, right in the heart of the town of Berwick.

Our Living Barracks project is incredibly exciting – saving an important historic site, providing much needed jobs and investment, and creating new cultural, residential and commercial space for Berwick.

All the partners involved in the realization of this project are delighted with this resounding vote of confidence and thank the Government for its support.

Cultural Recovery and Renewal Commissioner Neil Mendoza said:

The Cultural Investment Fund was a major commitment in the election manifesto.

He has already helped places like Grimsby and Plymouth. Today’s announcement highlights continued and needed support for museums and libraries.

We are also seeing a new set of impressive, culture-focused regeneration projects across the country, from Torbay to Middlesbrough. Upgrade in action.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:

Our artists, arts organizations, museums and libraries are experts in making towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play.

This investment means they will be able to help more people across England lead happier and more creative lives.

Sam Mullins, director of the London Transport Museum, said:

As we recover from the impact of the pandemic, this new investment will allow us to carry out critical repairs and upgrades to our historic Grade II listed building.

This will help ensure that our galleries and exhibits, which tell the story of how public transit moves and shape our city, are more accessible to our visitors and contribute to our efforts to make our building more environmentally friendly for the future. .

The fund will see £48m distributed to 63 organisations. It is split into three strands: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Buildings and Development Fund and £5 million through the improvement of libraries.

Cultural Development Fund

The Cultural Development Fund aims to give people access to arts and culture in areas where levels of cultural engagement are historically low and to stimulate economic growth. The first round of funding announced in 2019 saw Grimsby, the Thames Estuary, Plymouth, Wakefield and Worcester receive a £20m share to invest in culture, heritage and the creative industries. The fund helps transform cultural sites that are at the heart of communities.

Today, seven regional organizations have received funding for culture-based regeneration projects. Barnsley Museums will receive nearly £4 million to transform the Elsecar Heritage Center into a center for cultural and creative industries.

Middlesbrough Council’s Cultural Services has received a similar amount for a number of projects including the creation of a printmaking facility, new studio and gallery space at the Auxiliary Warehouse and to fund new new event spaces and a gallery at the Carnegie Library and the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. .

A further £4million will help transform Berwick Barracks in Northumberland into a year-round cultural venue with refurbished gallery and cinema spaces. Designed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, it was among the first purpose-built barracks in the country and is now run by English Heritage as a tourist attraction.

Library Improvement Fund

The Libraries Improvement Fund is helping to transform library services in England by helping them to modernize their buildings and digital infrastructure so they can respond to changes in the way people use them. Twenty-five library services are being supported in this round of funding, including Sandwell Library and Information Service in the West Midlands (£495,000) and Sheffield Libraries (£340,000).

Museum Real Estate and Development Fund

The Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) helps fund museum and local government infrastructure projects and urgent maintenance work beyond their day-to-day budgets.

Thirty-one museums across England have been supported by the fund in this cycle, including the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (£653,000) and the Leicester Museum & Art Gallery (£766,450). The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will receive £5million to improve public access and fund structural work to protect the building for future generations.

The True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, will receive £50,000 to help the independent community organization deal with flooding issues that threaten the safety of the collection.

Bletchley Park, the museum and former top-secret WWII decoding centre, has been awarded £468,000 to pay for essential maintenance work on its buildings near Milton Keynes to preserve them for future generations. The historic site is now a popular tourist attraction with over 250,000 visitors a year.

Haringey Council has also received £588,900 to fund the restoration of the historic North London landmark, Bruce Castle. The Grade 1 listed building houses the Borough’s museum and archives and the funding will help address structural issues in the historic building.

The London Transport Museum has also received £277,093 for upgrades, including improvements to its lifts to increase public access to the site.

Government support for the arts

This announcement follows a concerted effort by the government to support vital cultural organizations across the country.

Its unprecedented £2billion Cultural Recovery Fund has helped thousands of organizations survive the pandemic. Last month the government also announced an additional £75million in funding for the arts, which will be distributed by 2025 to places that have been culturally underserved in the past as part of its work to improve access to the arts.

With today’s announcement, the total amount of funding granted now constitutes the highest level of taxpayer investment in post-war culture.


Notes to editors:

  • Barnsley Museums will receive £3,930,000.
  • Middlesbrough Council Cultural Services will receive £4,250,000.
  • English Heritage will receive £4,200,000 for its work at Berwick Barracks.
  • Details of recipients of the remaining portion of the Culture Investment Fund will be announced in due course.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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