Woodhorn may lose nearly £100k funding

Woodhorn Colliery Museum.
Woodhorn Colliery Museum.

A popular museum in the county could lose almost £100,000 in funding if proposed council cuts are agreed next week.

Northumberland County Council has earmarked a £96,000 reduction of subsidy to the Woodhorn Trust, which operates Woodhorn Museum and Archives, as part of cost saving measures.

The Ashington facility is one of four sites operated by the trust, which also includes the Berwick Record Office, Museum and Art Gallery, Hexham Old Gaol, Hexham Moothall and Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum.

Woodhorn director Keith Merrin said: “Any cut in funding that the council gives us is difficult to manage, but we are working with the council to try and minimise the impact of any cuts in the way that we work with communities.

“We are certainly not talking about closing any of the sites or anything like that, but we will have to review our charges if this cut goes ahead, for example car parking at Woodhorn and entrance fees at other sites.

“The county council recognises the role Woodhorn has in improving the lives of people in Northumberland, and also in bringing in tourism to the county.

“We have a good relationship with the council and we are working very closely with them on this.

“They recognise how important Woodhorn and all the local museums are in the local communities.”

Currently the council provides £1.2m a year to the Woodhorn Trust for use across the sites.

The council has identified a number of cuts to make savings, which also include post-16 transport, as reported in the News Post Leader last month.

The £450 charge for transport for students aged 16 and above, and the removal of the right to travel outside of the area for education, will bring a saving of more than £1.5m if the plans are agreed – including £347,000 for the withdrawal of the post-16 transport travel scheme.

A controversial cut of £843,000 to the county’s youth service will also go before councillors next week.

The Keel Row shopping centre in Blyth is also in line to lose £55,000 as part of the cuts, and plans to remove the cap on charges for services to the maximum charge, at a saving of £125,000, will also be decided.

It will all be discussed by councillors at a full council meeting at County Hall in Morpeth on Tuesday, Feburary 18.