Museums’ project gets valuable £135k award

Woodhorn Colliery Museum.
Woodhorn Colliery Museum.

Museum bosses left to fill a financial gap after the county council pulled the plug on funding, have secured a £135,000 grant.

Last month the News Post Leader revealed how Northumberland County Council cut its £96,000 funding to the Woodhorn Trust, which operates four museums including Woodhorn in Ashington.

But now the trust has been awarded a £135,000 grant from Arts Council England in the latest rounds of the Renaissance programmes, the strategic support fund and the designation development fund.

The money will be used to hire a fundraiser for the year to work on the ‘Strengthening Community Support for Northumberland’s Museums’ project’, which will bring the four museums managed by the trust – Woodhorn, Hexham Old Gaol and Moothall, Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum and Berwick Museum and Art Gallery – under a unified brand.

The project centres on a series of fundraising initiatives to enable communities and businesses to have a deeper involvement with the museums and to strengthen the museums’ sustainability.

Woodhorn director Keith Merrin said: “This is good news for Woodhorn and we are very grateful to the Arts Council.

“This is the third year in a row that we have received funding through this fund.

“We are working hard to reduce our reliance on council funding, and this money will allow us to pay for a fundraiser who will help to increase the income that we make on our sites.”

Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, added: “Museums in this country are home to world class collections which at their best offer tantalising glimpses into the past and help us to imagine the future.”

“These latest awards support ambitious museums to find ever more creative ways to be original, relevant and engaging, widening audiences and in turn helping to support the resilience of the sector.”