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Silverstone Experience receives lifeline grant

Author: Gemma Briggs Published: 12th October 2020 09:43
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 FundGrants 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 Silverstone Experience in Northamptonshire is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

445 organisations, including The Silverstone Experience, will share £103 million to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

The Silverstone Experience museum, which is housed in a restored WW2 Wellington Bomber Hangar and has been open for less than a year, will receive £572,000. The grant will enable the museum to protect jobs, maintain its historic collection, bring in new visitors and prepare for a future when Covid safety measures will ease. The funding will also allow it to continue its mission of inspiring the next generation of engineers with family visits and a schools and learning programme.

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are 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.

433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from 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 Piecehall 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.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“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 bounce back post Covid.”

Sally Reynolds, CEO of The Silverstone Experience, said:

“In what is proving to be one of the most difficult years in memory for the museum and heritage sector, I offer sincere thanks to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for this grant. Without this money from the Culture Recovery Fund, The Silverstone Experience would be in real trouble. Following months of enforced closure during the national lockdown, and a current restriction on daily visitor numbers, this essential income will enable us to protect jobs, maintain our collection and prepare for a future when Covid safety measures will ease. We remain fully committed to achieving our mission of protecting and promoting the heritage of British motor racing and inspiring the next generation of engineers; this financial support provides invaluable help as we work towards achieving this. I am thrilled that we can continue to welcome visitors for a safe and fun day out.”

The Silverstone Experience began to welcome visitors in late October 2019 ahead of a full Royal opening with Prince Harry and F1 champion Lewis Hamilton in March of this year. It was closed for almost four months due to the national lockdown and has implemented a range of measures to ensure it can remain safely open to the public.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said:

“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, said:

“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.”

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