Express & Star

Black Country Living Museum given £1.1m of 'lifeline' funding

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Town Hall and Symphony Hall in Birmingham have also been granted major funding.

Last updated
The Black Country Living Museum

The Black Country Living Museum has been handed more than £1 million of "lifeline" funding after losing around £3m due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The museum has received £1.175m of financial support from Arts Council England's Emergency Response Fund.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Town Hall and Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the Midlands Arts Centre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre have all also been granted hundreds of thousands of pounds each.

In total 196 organisations - including 24 in the Midlands - have benefited from more than £33m of the Arts Council's emergency money.

Other beneficiaries include Birmingham Open Media and the Geese Theatre Company, also based in Birmingham.

The grant given to the Living Museum, which has been closed since March, was the fourth biggest given out by the council and will go towards helping the attraction reopen in August.

"We are extremely grateful for the lifeline this funding will provide during such a critical time in the museum’s history," a spokesman said.

"As for many other businesses and charitable organisations throughout the UK, these are difficult and uncertain times. During lockdown, the museum has lost £3.1m in revenue and an anticipated 150,000 visitors.

"With 94 per cent of museum income coming from visitors, the lockdown has had a devastating effect on our finances.

"The support we have received from ACE, other funders, and our fantastic members and visitors has been vital to the museum’s immediate survival but, given the depth of the financial losses incurred as a result of the pandemic, these much-needed funds are unable to offset the fall in income.

"We’re focused on doing all we can now to preserve jobs and livelihoods for the future. The museum is a remarkable community asset and all efforts are currently dedicated to maximising its chances of surviving in the short-term, so that it can thrive in the long-term."

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which runs 10 museums in the gorge including Blists Hill, was given £500,000.

"The funding we've received today is a real boost for us and we're so grateful to Arts Council England," a spokesman said.

"We still need additional support to ensure the museum's future and have launched our Keep Ironbridge Running fundraising appeal at Do come and visit us soon."

Birmingham Repertory Theatre was granted £540,489 and Performances Birmingham Limited, the charitable trust that runs Town Hall and Symphony Hall, received £300,000.

The Midlands Arts Centre in Cannon Hill Park, which hosts a wide variety of performances and exhibitions, was given £432,332

The £33m funding given to organisations is part of an overall emergency package worth £160 million that the Arts Council announced it would be giving to artists, groups and organisations shortly after the lockdown was introduced in March.

On Monday the Government announced a further £1.57 billion support package to “protect” the future of Britain’s museums, galleries and theatres.

The £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million of grants.

Wolverhampton's Newhampton Arts Centre is also among the 24 Midlands venues awarded emergency funding.

The arts centre has been rewarded £40,850 under the Arts Council England Emergency Fund for National Portfolio Organisations.

Venue CEO Trevelyan Wright said: "We are very grateful to Arts Council England for this additional support at this very difficult time for the arts.

"The funding will help NAC stabilise its position over the next few months while we develop our plans for re-opening to the public.

"We look forward to welcoming them back for live music, theatre, courses and classes when it is safe to do so."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.