Help for heritage as the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust receives funding from government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Lifeline grants from the latest round of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund will protect a further 162 heritage sites to ensure that jobs and access to arts, culture and heritage in local communities are protected in the months ahead, the Culture Secretary has announced.

Historic organisations including The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust will receive help to meet ongoing costs and to support restart activity when it is possible to do so safely.

Established in 2016, the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust is responsible for the protection of the iconic Grade II* listed Loughborough Bellfoundry buildings, a treasured heritage site that has been casting bells since 1859.

More than £9 million has been allocated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which builds on £103 million awarded to more significant historic places last month. Grants between £10,000 and £1 million have been awarded to stabilise 77 organisations.

In addition, £5 million will go to construction and maintenance projects that have been paused due to the pandemic.

Previously, it was announced that the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust would receive £246,500 from the first round of funding to introduce Covid safety measures to its onsite museum, allowing it to reopen to the visitors once it is safe to do so after months of closure.

Historic England has allocated £3,971,513 in awards from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of a £120 million capital investment from the Culture Recovery Fund, to restart construction and maintenance projects facing delays or increased costs as a result of the pandemic and save specialist livelihoods in the sector.

The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, owner of the UK’s last remaining working bellfoundry, has received £449,918 to contribute towards maintenance of the 160-year old site, including repairs to the roof, drainage and structure.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities.

“From St Paul’s and Ronnie Scott’s to The Lowry and Durham Cathedral, we’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it can bounce back strongly.”

Andrew Wilby, Trustee of the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, said: “As the UK’s last remaining working bellfoundry, it is vital that we preserve the rich culture and heritage that has been built up over the last 160 years.

“The Loughborough Bellfoundry buildings, both Grade II* listed, are part of a historic site of national and global significance. Bells are an intrinsic part of British culture and since 1859 the foundry has been casting bells of all shapes and sizes, which now hang in over 100 countries around the world.

“This funding will allow us to make much needed repairs to the buildings so they can be enjoyed for years to come.”

74 organisations are also receiving grants of up to £25,000 from the Covid-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund, launched by Historic England and almost quadrupled thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund, to cover maintenance and repairs urgently needed on historic buildings and sites up and down the country.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: “Historic places across the country, from Durham Cathedral embodying more than a thousand years of history to the Crystal Palace dinosaurs, much loved by children and grownups alike, are being supported by the Government’s latest round of grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kickstarting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of Covid-19. It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help to keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “The Government’s £1.57bn package for culture is unprecedented and it’s important to acknowledge how valuable this has been for our heritage organisations and visitor attractions.  Although we are not able to support everyone facing difficulties, today’s funding package helps a diverse range of heritage organisations from across the country survive, adapt and plan for a brighter future through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

“By the end of this financial year we will have distributed almost £600m of Government and National Lottery Funding to heritage organisations. Investing in heritage remains vitally important, creating jobs and economic prosperity, driving tourism, supporting our wellbeing and making our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  There is a lot more work to do to address the ongoing challenges, but this funding has provided a future for much of our heritage and the organisations that care for it, when it might otherwise have been permanently lost.”

All four nations are benefiting from the UK Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, with £188 million barnetted to the Devolved Administrations to run their own process – £97 million for Scotland, £59 million for Wales and £33 million for Northern Ireland. This funding will enable them to increase the support already available to the arts and cultural sectors in each nation.

Over £18 million in funding will go to eight arts and cultural organisations around the country in the second round of grants between £1 million and £3 million awarded by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, it has also been announced today. This funding builds on £75 million in grants over £1 million for iconic venues like Shakespeare’s Globe and the Sheffield Crucible last month.