Heritage groups across the region get share of £100m grant pot

  • Rob Setchell reports on the grants in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex

  • Rebecca Haworth reports on the grants in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire

Heritage groups across the region are to receive a share of more than £100m from the Government.

Grimes Graves, Norfolk, and Ely Cathedral are among 69 recipients across the region to receive a share of £103 million Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage

The Government says the grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund

The park was founded by engineer Charles Wicksteed. Credit: ITV Anglia.

Wicksteed Park in Kettering will receive £270,000. It closed in March and went into administration after lockdown left it with no income.

This cash will be in addition to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and a fundraising appeal.

This crisis is going on longer than anyone expected and it is absolutely vital that people have green spaces to enjoy

Oliver Wicksteed, Wicksteed Charitable Trust

Heritage railway groups will share more than £600,000. The biggest share goes to North Norfolk Railway which gets £360,000, the Mid Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust gets £190,000.

Dereham Station Credit: Mid Norfolk Railway

Mid Norfolk Railway says it will use the cash to do essential track maintenance work in a socially distanced way, restore a coach with social distancing in mind plus invest in IT equipment so staff can work more effectively from home.

We haven’t been able to run a service that would be compliant with Government precautions and also be economically viable. This grant will allow us to meet those requirements and once again be able to run a public service

George Saville, General Manager, Mid Norfolk Railway

Also getting smaller awards were the Colne Valley Railway Preservation group in Essex which gets £20,000, Northampton Steam Railway Limited awarded £46,000 andRushden Historical Transport Society netting £31,900.

Old Buckenham Mill in 1936 Credit: Norfolk County Council

£120,000 will be spent on Old Buckenham Mill in Norfolk. It will mean the 202-year-old mill can be reopened.

Major repair works will start immediately. It's been closed since 2018 when a bulge in the brickwork started to get worse.

I am very pleased to see this much needed work start on Old Buckenham Mill, which will enable it to be opened up to the public next spring

Martin Wilby, Chairman, Norfolk Windmills Trust
Ely Cathedral is one of the beneficiaries

The recipients also include Bungay St Mary’s Church in Suffolk which is set to receive £164,678 and Ely Cathedral which will be awarded £270,000.

The funding is part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

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.

Oliver Dowden MP

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said:

Historic England says the grants will give skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive and helping heritage organisations pay the bills. The money will also kick-start repair works at 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

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive