Cultural Recovery Fund to benefit Somerset

This morning a list of 433 organisations who will benefit from the Cultural Recovery Fund was published. A total of £67m was allocated between them. Separately a further 12 national organisations will receive £34 million. These include English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust.

The grants had to be applied for, with funds on offer from between £10,000 and £1 million.

The money is to help cultural organisations whose survival has been hit by the pandemic. Especially those depending on large visitor numbers not just to keep going, but to maintain buildings and equipment. It is an interesting selection and not all the recipients were obvious ones. However any money coming into the county right now is welcome. As an area that sees itself as a tourist destination, keeping the show on the road for when life returns to some sort of normal, was never more important. The recipients are in Somerset and were as follows:

  • West Somerset Railway £865,000
  • Palace Trust (The Bishop’s Palace, Wells) £364,900
  • Glastonbury Abbey £339,500
  • Brympton House, Yeovil £281,900
  • Wells Cathedral £201,300
  • Halsway Manor Society  £154,000
  • Jailhouse Tours (Prison tours in Shepton Mallet and Shrewsbury) £74,300
  • South Somerset District Council £50,500 (this money is for Ham Hill Country Park)
  • Castle Cary & Ansford Parish Council £30,500
  • PCC of Glastonbury St john’s Church £25,000
  • PCC of ecclesiastical parish of Frome Selwood £19,000

As you can city the City of Wells has a lot to smile about with large sums given to help both the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace. West Somerset railway noted that whilst the money would help them “recover from the enforced closure of the railway since March during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” they went on to note “Importantly, the grant bid …… will also assist with the process of re-training staff and reinstating competencies, policies and procedures

SSDC have said that they will use the money for “a winter season of works at the Scheduled Monument to ensure the special heritage site is protected and that the public can continue to access it safely.  Two extra members of staff will be employed, each for six months, to carry out practical management works and also to enhance Covid secure volunteering and new digital events. New technology will be implemented to help the rangers plan and map works & features at the site and funds will support film making and the Friends of Ham Hill with a new web site.

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