The UK’s largest heritage funder has provided a lifeline for Whittington Castle near Oswestry which has faced an uncertain future during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Grade I listed treasure was awarded £52,400 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund ensuring that it would not face permanent closure.
The Heritage Emergency Fund was set up at speed in late April in recognition of the fact that the UK’s heritage would need significant help to survive the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. Since then 234 grants have been awarded across the Midlands & East of England to cover costs including core staff, essential maintenance and utility costs and safe reopening, saving swathes of organisations from permanent closure. The fund closed at the end of July, with final grants awarded last week.
Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Heritage across the Midlands & East has faced a challenge like no other seen before in COVID-19 pandemic. As a funder, we knew that those dedicated to safeguarding and preserving our treasured heritage would need substantial support, and we worked extremely hard and against the clock to refocus our funding programme and get grants out the door.
“We are really proud that our funding has been able to support such a diverse portfolio of organisations and groups to weather the crisis and continue their work at this difficult time. Sadly, we cannot save everyone and we know challenges still exist for many and that obstacles still lie ahead, we are grateful that thanks to National Lottery players we have been able to support so many.”
Grants were awarded across the full breadth of heritage, from historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives to parks and gardens and landscapes and nature. They also went to charities supporting vulnerable and marginalised communities, and organisations exploring and supporting the UK’s cultural heritage.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund continues to offer support for heritage organisations across the UK affected by the crisis, through continued support for 2,500 projects where funding of £1.1bn is already committed, and an additional £1.2m investment in the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative to help the sector through the crisis and beyond, producing guides and delivering webinars to support organisations pivoting to digital – many for the first time.