- Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Seaton Tramway have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage
- Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund
- First major tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund
Seaton Tramway is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
445 organisations will share £103 million, including Seaton Tramway to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.
The award of £435,100 will directly support wages, major overheads such as track & tram maintenance and the creation of new offers and opportunities with world class partners and exhibitions.
This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.
433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.
12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.
The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”
Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, said:
“There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.
“At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable to this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage. We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”
Jenny Nunn, Chief Executive of Seaton Tramway said “Having to close the Tramway on 23rd March and consequently cancel any income for the next three months is on of the toughest things any business and employer has had to implement. In an unprecedented year for all, I am extremely grateful that the Cultural Recovery Fund has recognised the extreme difficulties faced by tourism and hospitality and has agreed to support us in this way. The months ahead will still be very challenging but the award also ensures the sustainability of the charity as an important economic driver for the area”
Seaton Tramway, which is a registered charity, has been operating in Seaton since August 1970 and celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. The Tramway operates a 3-mile track between the coastal town of Seaton and the town of Colyton and has a fleet of 14 trams. The trams range in age from 1904 to 2007 and include a fleet of heritage trams of which ran on the streets of London, Bournemouth and includes the last surviving tram to run on the streets of Exeter.
The funding comes at welcome time for the Tramway as it has had to endure huge losses during the Covid-19 lockdown, closing from 23rd March and reopening 4th July. Since reopening, the Tramway has been awarded the ‘We’re Good To Go’ accreditation from Visit England and the AA ‘Covid-Secure’ badge. The trams have been running at a lower capacity since 4th July due to social distancing. However, with the hard work of staff & volunteers, we have successfully kept the site covid secure and welcomed many delighted visitors over the brief summer season.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said:
“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial. Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live. All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.
“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet. But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”
Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said:
“This support for our nation’s heritage is fantastic news. Over the last few months, our teams have been working hard to welcome visitors back safely to the great castles, stone circles, abbeys and historic houses in our care. This funding will help us invest to safeguard the historic fabric of these much-loved places, which everyone can learn from and enjoy.”
Tram Scenes at Seaton Tramway.(C) Seaton Tramway.