Aln Valley Railway Trust, Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn and Blyth Tall Ships get share of £1.57billion culture fund

A heritage railway, traditional ships and the Northumberland Archives are among the beneficiaries from the heritage pot of the Government’s £1.57billion culture fund.

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 16th October 2020, 12:14 pm
Aln Valley Railway has been awarded £21,300
Aln Valley Railway has been awarded £21,300

A total of 433 organisations will receive a share of £67million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs of operating, reopening and recovery.

The grants are administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, but funded by the Government as part of its package to try to protect the UK’s culture and heritage sectors from the economic impacts of Covid-19.

In Northumberland, the Alnwick-based Aln Valley Railway Trust has been awarded £21,300, there is £51,400 for Blyth Tall Ships and £48,100 for the Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn.

Northumberland Archives is celebrating the receipt of a grant of almost £50,000.

Like many other cultural organisations and services, the archives were forced to close their doors to the public in March, only reopening with restricted access in September.

This has meant that the income generation through the consultancy services provided by the team have taken a huge hit, with a projection of only reaching 18% of their target for the year.

The funding means that the team can create an online shop, investigate partnerships in relation to commercial services to reach a wider audience and to pilot new ways of engagement to reach individuals who would not usually use their services.

Cllr Jeff Watson, Northumberland County Council’s relevant cabinet member, said: “Covid-19 has had a severe impact on the Northumberland Archives. Following national guidance, our archives research centres were closed, which had a major impact on the service’s income.

“Covid has led to digital access to our services becoming a key priority.”

He added: “The fund will also help us to create an online shop of archives for people to purchase and download, including high-quality images and parish and church records.”

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