Kilmartin Standing Stones. The HLF grant will enable Kilmartin Museum to attract more visitors to the area's archaeological sites

HLF success for Kilmartin Museum and Manchester Museum

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 10.05.2018
But Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s £12.7m bid is turned down
Two museums are among the beneficiaries of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s latest Heritage Grant awards, which comprise grants of between £2m and £5m.

Applications to all of HLF’s grant programmes have been highly competitive this year after the organisation’s grant budget was cut from £435m in 2016/17 to £190m in 2018/19 in response to a decline in National Lottery ticket sales.

Among the latest successful applicants was Manchester Museum, which secured a second-round grant of £4.2m towards a capital project that will provide the venue with a new temporary exhibition space; a gallery of South Asian history and culture; and improved outreach capacity.

The university museum will build a new entrance facade, welcome area and shop. Alongside its physical transformation, Manchester will use the grant to establish a “dynamic co-created participatory programme” that will address issues such as climate change, ageing and migration.

Esme Ward, the newly-appointed director of the museum, said: “With new world-class spaces for extraordinary objects and stories, more volunteering opportunities and imaginative partnerships, Manchester Museum will reflect and explore the needs, interests and opportunities of the diverse communities we serve.”

Kilmartin Museum in Argyll, Scotland, also received second-round grant of £3.2m towards a significant redevelopment project that aims to transform the venue into a landmark centre for culture and natural tourism, capitalising on its location in the archaeologically significant Kilmartin Glen.

The funding will enable the venue to build a new extension linking its two existing buildings, as well as triple its education service capacity.

The museum’s director Sharon Webb said: “The award means we’ve nearly reached our fundraising target, bringing the implementation of the project that much closer.

"Applications have been lodged for the remainder, but there is still a £100,000 funding gap, which we will be working on closing in the coming months.”

Other Heritage Grant recipients in this funding round include the National Trust’s Seaton Delaval Hall in Newcastle, which will use the funding for a restoration project; and the Hold in Ispwich, a planned state-of-the-art facility to house Suffolk’s archive service.

Meanwhile, out of 12 applicants to the HLF’s £40m Major Grant programme, four have been approved for funding.

Successful bids announced so far include Rochdale Town Hall, which confirmed this week that it had won a first round pass of £688,000 towards a £9.8m restoration project.

Newport Transporter Bridge in Wales and Stroudwater Navigation Connected have also received funding, while the fourth recipient will be announced later this month.

The news was less positive for other applicants. A planned museum and art gallery for Swindon had its £12.7m bid turned down, and last week it was announced that York's National Railway Museum’s £13.4m application had been rejected.

Robert Kiscox, the chairman of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust, said: “For the last few years we have been very focussed on the bid but now we have the opportunity to step back and explore options and look at alternative possibilities.

“Over the coming months we will be consulting with stakeholders and the public to get as much input as we can on how to fulfil our ambition to create something that will be transformational for Swindon and a source of civic pride that everyone can enjoy.”

Applications for Major Grants are closed this year while the HLF transitions to a new five-year strategic framework in 2019. However, bids can still be submitted for Heritage Grants of up to £5m until the deadline in August 2018.