Government hands heritage sector £60m in grants

The government is awarding £60m to 20 heritage charities and organisations to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding is being awarded to charities, including the Natural History Museum and the British Museum to secure their long term future and carry out maintenance that was delayed due to the health crisis.

It will also help heritage charities to increase accessibility and meet energy efficiency targets.

The £60m grants have been awarded to “safeguard the priceless collections and heritage at many of our beloved cultural institutions so they can be enjoyed by future generations,” said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Projects being funded include providing grants for electric boilers at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in Cambridgeshire and upgrading insulation at Tate Liverpool.

The British Museum is receiving £9.8m for maintenance, says the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS). Of this £2.7m has been earmarked to care for the fabric and roofs of galleries.

Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum is being handed £7.6m, of which £4.6m is being used to restore its wing that charts the evolution of human biology.

“We are very grateful for this support which will be vital in sustaining our estate and collections for future generations and support our drive to become net zero,” said Natural History Museum director Doug Gurr.

The Science Museum Group has received £6.2m for maintenance work.

Jonathan Newby, the group’s acting director and chief executive said: “This government funding is vital to our work to reduce our carbon footprint and ensure our museums are accessible and welcoming to everyone who visits.”

The Royal Armouries in Leeds is using its £1.1m grant to improve accessibility for visitors with disabilities and carers.

“One of the improvements this makes possible is the installation of a ‘Changing Places’ toilet, a gold standard facility for the use of people with severe disabilities, including those with profound and multiple learning difficulties,” said director general and master of the Armouries Edward Impey.

Elsewhere, £2.2m is being used to improve London’s Royal Parks, including maintaining footpaths and repairing walls and bridges.

The government has not set a date for charities to apply for the final £300m of the government’s £2bn Culture Recovery Fund.

Earlier this year the National Audit Office raised concerns about the distribution of the funding.

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