The Leeds Library is just one of 445 heritage organisations in England to have been awarded money from the first round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
Each grant is worth up to £1 million, with more support to come. Capital projects are being awarded via the Heritage Stimulus Fund. The grants are being accepted as lifesaving financial boosts which help these organisations to get through the economic hardships created as one impact of COVID-19, allowing them to restart vital reconstruction and maintenance on our cherished heritage sites, as well as to keep them open and support workers.
Apart from libraries, the funds are helping museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues, who will receive emergency grants as well as loans.
Examples of those benefiting from the Culture Recover Fund for Heritage are: Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piece Hall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.
12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.
The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.
Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary:
“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”
Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces:
“There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.
At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable to this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage. We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”
Carl Hutton, Chief Executive of The Leeds Library:
“The Leeds Library is the oldest membership subscription of its kind in the UK, with our collection of 140,000 items highlighting the reading interests of our members for over 250 years. The grant from the Culture Recovery Fund will mean that we are in a position to safeguard these collections and our work not just with our members but with the people of Leeds for years to come and we are grateful to the Heritage Fund for their support at this time. Whilst we have been open since the beginning of July, our work and services have been greatly impacted due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Over the coming months, with this grant award, we can look to open up our work and engage the City in our heritage much more effectively.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive:
“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund:
“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial. Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live. All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.
“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet. But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”
Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said:
“This support for our nation’s heritage is fantastic news. Over the last few months, our teams have been working hard to welcome visitors back safely to the great castles, stone circles, abbeys and historic houses in our care. This funding will help us invest to safeguard the historic fabric of these much-loved places, which everyone can learn from and enjoy.”
Feature photograph shows The Leeds Library – New Room.