Winter Gardens Blackpool receives lifeline grant from Govt Culture Recovery Fund

9 October 2020

Winter Gardens Blackpool is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens, Blackpool

445 organisations will share £103 million, including Winter Gardens Blackpool to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

As part of the £103 million funding package, the Winter Gardens Blackpool is set to receive up to £846k which will be used to protect and preserve the venue during these challenging times and to contribute towards the essential running costs whilst restrictions on mass gatherings remain in place.

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to the Winter Gardens Blackpool, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.

12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, said:

“There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.

“At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable to this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage.  We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”

Michael Williams, Blackpool Entertainment Company Managing Director said:

“The Winter Gardens has been pivotal to the development of Blackpool, providing a host of entertainment and cultural events that have come to define the town’s heritage offer. We are most grateful for the DCMS funding as it allows us to continue this tradition through these very challenging times. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in March, the Winter Gardens Blackpool closed its doors in line with Government instructions but has only recently reopened with a limited programme of events in line with social distancing. The support of the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund does ensure that we are able to continue planning for the future to ensure that we are in a position to reopen fully once restrictions are lifted. We recognise that a visit to the Winter Gardens Blackpool does make a difference to our visitors and by working with key partners including Blackpool Council, we are able deliver a diverse range of shows and events designed to create memorable experiences.“

Opened in 1878 the Winter Gardens Blackpool is an integral part of the local and regional economy. Pre-pandemic hosting over 500 events each year across its 12 unique venues, welcoming over 1.3 million guests from over 60 different nations contributing well in excess of £60 million for the local economy.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Cabinet Member for Tourism & Culture for Blackpool Council, said:

“We are pleased and relieved that the cultural and economic significance of venues like the Winter Gardens has been recognised. The importance of the Winter Gardens to Blackpool’s town centre and wider resort regeneration cannot be under-estimated and this grant aid gives us a platform on which to build our recovery plans.”

Scott Benton, Member of Parliament for Blackpool South Said:

“I am are thrilled the Winter Gardens Blackpool has received funding thanks to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund. I supported the Winter Garden’s application as a key part of Blackpool’s heritage. I am delighted they have received their share of the £1.57 billion fund to support them through this difficult period and help protect vital local jobs.”

 Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said:

“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.

“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.  But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”

Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said:

“This support for our nation’s heritage is fantastic news.  Over the last few months, our teams have been working hard to welcome visitors back safely to the great castles, stone circles, abbeys and historic houses in our care. This funding will help us invest to safeguard the historic fabric of these much-loved places, which everyone can learn from and enjoy.”

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