Wednesday, 02 September 2020 10:01

Local Museum Receives National Lottery Grant to Address Covid-19

The Priest’s House Museum in Wimborne, Dorset has received National Lottery grant support to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on heritage.

The Priest’s House Museum, the Museum of East Dorset, has received £115,000 in emergency funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the organisation until it is in a position to re-open at the end of a major refurbishment project. The pandemic has caused a four-month delay to the planned launch of the new museum after more than a year of closure. The funding will be used to help stabilise the organisation and safeguard its future by covering some of the fixed and unplanned costs for this period. It will be used to make the museum fit and safe for the new Covid-19 reality, including a reconfigured Tea Room, appropriate safety precautions, an on-line ticketed booking system and greater access to museum services for all via the internet.

The museum was to reopen in June 2020. When the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began, all construction work ceased. The Trust had no option but to furlough all the staff apart from the Director for more than three months. The Trustees have been working behind the scenes to mitigate the delays which have resulted in a significant loss of summer income at a peak time when many visitors would have visited the area. As a registered charity, the museum relies on this income to enable it to offer its services to the visitors and the local community.

David Morgan, Chairman of the Trust said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now look forward to the long-awaited reopening of the museum in October, confident that we have all the measures in place to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our visitors, our staff and our volunteers. We are grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as the Priest’s House Museum, the Museum of East Dorset during this uncertain time.”

Like the museum, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance. By playing The National Lottery, people up and down the country are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.