Funding boost for Northumberland cultural sites
A museum and a cultural gem are among those to receive Government funding to help recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Museums Northumberland – which comprises Woodhorn Museum, Berwick Museum and Art Gallery, Hexham Old Gaol and Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum – has received £281,544 from second round of Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
In addition to covering lost income, the funding will be used to develop new onsite and online experiences providing greater access to Museums Northumberland’s stories.
Plans include a digital Northumberland Miners’ Picnic, and a new exhibition by leading artist, Jonny Hannah, across the four sites.
Rowan Brown, chief executive of Museums Northumberland, said: ”We’re absolutely delighted with this lifeline from Arts Council, who've already provided incredible support throughout the pandemic.
"As we work towards reopening our museums – some of which have now been closed for well over a year – we can do so confidently and creatively, with the funding in place to work with our communities in new and dynamic ways.”
Elsewhere, Headway Arts, in Blyth, received a grant of £30,000 from the fund.
Creative Director Allie Walton-Robson said: “From the very first day of lockdown, Headway Arts has continued to work hard throughout, redesigned the building, supported our freelance workforce and raised funds to offer our whole community a vibrant programme, described as a ‘Beacon of Hope’.
"We have delivered materials, tablets and bought data packages to enable creative connection online for people who have been isolated at home, many ill or very clinically vulnerable, so have not been out of their homes at all.
"We have kept everyone going with a wide range of cultural events from daily creative wellbeing workshops to joyful circus performance, from motivational training courses to online community creative cafes, outdoor dance workshops to moving zoom performances.
"People have told me they didn’t know what they would have done without it and described our work as a ‘lockdown lifeline’.
"It’s been realised that Arts and Culture has never been more needed for our wellbeing and, a vital way to keep connected with other humans and to express ourselves – our work has this massive impact.
"Its great to be recognised as a ‘cultural gem’.
"Headway Arts will now be ready with warmth and welcome back to Blyth's much loved arts and cultural centre and popular music venue.”
Fran Castle, CEO Headway Arts, said: “This funding will used to support the future of Headway Arts going forwards and help us to develop our work and own road map for a safe return for our vulnerable groups, learning disabled artists and all audiences.
"We can now look to better times ahead with hope.”
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.
“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.
“We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”
For more information about Museums Northumberland visit www.museumsnorthumberland.org.uk