Heritage Fund announces Covid recovery grants - Museums Association

Heritage Fund announces Covid recovery grants

Titanic Belfast and National Trust Northern Ireland among those to benefit
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Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic
Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic

Titanic Belfast and the National Trust Northern Ireland are among the beneficiaries of National Lottery Heritage Fund grants to help organisations recover from the Covid pandemic.

The Heritage Fund has given a total of £5.28m to 50 heritage organisations and 41 individuals, with the money coming from the Department for Communities.

Those benefiting from support, which was announced on 15 February, also include self-employed tour guides and other heritage specialists such as stonemasons, coppersmiths and conservators.

“Titanic Belfast’s income dropped to zero overnight with the closure of Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic in March 2020,” said Judith Owens, the chief executive officer of Titanic Belfast, which has been given £1.63m.

“The impact was further exacerbated given that we were coming out of the quietest part of the tourism calendar when cashflow and reserves were at their lowest and preparations had been made for a bumper high season.

“Thanks to the Department for Communities and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this grant is a lifeline for our recovery to operate and maintain our heritage assets and support our ambition to rebuild the business to tell the story of RMS Titanic and Belfast’s industrial heritage through Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic and the historic Titanic slipways.”

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The Heritage Fund gave 325,100 to National Trust NI and £167,300 to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland, which will help it reopen its Whitehead site and museum.

“The risks to historic sites, attractions and essential heritage jobs and skills from a sudden and dramatic loss of income as a result of the pandemic, have put the heritage and visitor economy in crisis, and we hope this funding will play a vital role in their recovery,” said Paul Mullan, the director of the Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland.

“Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, creating economic prosperity and supporting personal wellbeing," Mullan continued. "All of these are going to be vitally important as we emerge from the current pandemic.”

News of the Heritage Fund grants follows the Arts Council of Northern Ireland announcement on 11 February that it had offered nearly £10.9m from its Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations to support 168 cultural organisations affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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