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Bamburgh Castle fortified with Culture Recovery Funding

We are among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund 

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland has received a grant  from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help organisations recover and reopen as the fortress emerges from months of lockdowns and social distancing.

Nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Bamburgh Castle, which was awarded  £137,400 in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund.

Known as the jewel in Northumberland’s crown, Bamburgh Castle is an irreplaceable cultural asset for the north east of England. Covering a vast nine-acres of the famous Whin Sill, in a dramatic but exposed site 150 feet above the Northumberland coast, the 1400-year-Grade I listed building requires ongoing specialist maintenance to safeguard the fabric of the castle and its contents against the elements.

Usually open all year round, the pandemic lead to Bamburgh Castle having to lock its doors for 70% of its usual trading year, resulting in a loss of around 125,000 visitors. While the castle grounds reopened to visitors on 29 March, its 14 staterooms and Armstrong & Aviation museum remain closed due to national lockdown restrictions.

As well as contributing to ongoing vital structural maintenance to the castle, the investment from the Culture Recovery Fund will help Bamburgh Castle transition from over 40-weeks of closure to reopening fully, safeguarding jobs, providing staff training and development and supporting a series of family friendly, outdoor events.

Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

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.”4Francis Watson Armstrong, owner of Bamburgh Castle, said:“It is absolutely fantastic to have been awarded this very signifant grant which will help buffer us, as we move towards reopening England’s finest coastal castle and seeing it return to life with visitors once more.

“Like so many of our fellow heritage and culture organisations, the pandemic has had a devastating impact, cauterising vital income from visitor admissions and events that is the castle’s lifeblood for over 70% of the year.”

“This funding is helping us give Bamburgh Castle a future as a living, breathing attraction to be enjoyed by future generations for centuries to come. This funding will help fortify not just the castle but our community as we move towards reopening out of lockdown. The castle plays a huge role in the community working with the inns, the shops, the attractions and other tourism businesses and together we make Bamburgh a brilliant cultural and heritage destination to visit all year round.”

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and  hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal  wellbeing.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “The value of our heritage sites and the people who run them has been amply                  demonstrated, as they have provided an anchor for so many of us through the dark days of the last year. Vital grants from the Culture Recovery Fund have helped them survive and will now help them recover, as the places we all cherish start to reopen in the months ahead.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England as well as the British Film Institute and Arts Council England.


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