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BCLM receives lifeline grant from Government's Culture Recovery Fund

Here For Culture

24 October 2020

Black Country Living Museum has been awarded a grant of £2.56m from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to further help it face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Museum is one of 35 major cultural organisations receiving the first grants between £1 and £3 million through the Culture Recovery Fund – with £75 million of investment announced today (Sat 24 Oct).

This follows £334 million awarded earlier in the month to nearly 2,000 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

This financial support will help to safeguard the Museum during these most challenging of times.   Since reopening in August, following five months of closure due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Museum has been operating with severely capped visitor attendance – resulting in audiences at less than half of the level seen in previous years. As an independent charity which receives 94 per cent of its everyday income from visitors, the temporary closure and continuing reduced visitor attendance have had a serious impact on the Museum’s short and medium-term financial position.

Therefore, support from the Culture Recovery Fund will play a vital role in helping BCLM to remain open and able to serve its community.  While this is obviously fantastic news for the Museum, it will still need to evolve to meet the challenges ahead.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, said:

“As part of our unprecedented £1.57 billion rescue fund, today we're saving British cultural icons with large grants of up to £3 million – from Shakespeare's Globe to the Sheffield Crucible. These places and organisations are irreplaceable parts of our heritage and what make us the cultural superpower we are.  This vital funding will secure their future and protect jobs right away."

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“The Culture Recovery Fund has already helped hundreds of organisations, of all types and sizes, in villages, towns and cities across the country. It has provided a lifeline that will allow these organisations to continue to play an integral role in their communities and produce new artistic work that will entertain and inspire us all.

“This latest funding, which are the largest grants to date, will support some of the country’s most loved and admired cultural spaces – from great regional theatres and museums to historic venues in the capital – which are critical to the development of a new generation of talent and in providing work for freelance creatives.”

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said:

“We’re delighted that Black Country Living Museum has been successful through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The museum is a cornerstone of the Black Country’s cultural offer and this grant will offer them some short-term security and the opportunity to plan for the future. By restoring their period buildings to their huge collection of historical artefacts, the Black Country Living Museum gives visitors from across the region a truly immersive experience.

 “The Government’s package is hugely welcome, providing much of the sector with resources to remain in business through to the Spring. Well-loved community projects, theatres, galleries, museums, clubs, music venues, festivals, key cultural suppliers along with other creative spaces and projects have benefited, and their communities will feel a boost as a result. At a time where many communities and organisations face difficult challenges, this is a chance to continue on the road to recovery, post-Covid.”

Andrew Lovett, Chief Executive of Black Country Living Museum, said:

“We’re incredibly grateful for the support given to the Museum, ultimately by the people of the UK, as a result of our successful application to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.  Prior to the pandemic, BCLM was justly proud of its contribution as an independent heritage business to the region’s identity and economy.  These funds will help us to adapt to survive in the short term, so that we can thrive and grow with our community in the long term.  Prior to COVID-19 this Museum was enormously successful.  This critical funding provides the means to be successful once more.

"As Chair of the Association of Independent Museums, I also recognise and welcome the positive impact of the Culture Recovery Fund for hundreds of museums across England and the value attached to them by millions of visitors.”

Lowell Williams, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Black Country Living Museum, said:

“This decision is a massive vote of confidence in the Museum. It reflects our value to people and the strength and optimism of the organisation.” 

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