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Ham Hill Country Park receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

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Ham Hill Country Park 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.

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

£50,500 has been granted to support a winter season of works at the Scheduled Monument to ensure the special heritage site is protected and that the public can continue to access it safely.  Two extra members of staff will be employed, each for six months, to carry out practical management works and also to enhance Covid secure volunteering and new digital events. New technology will be implemented to help the rangers plan and map works & features at the site and funds will support film making and the Friends of Ham Hill with a new web site.

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arms 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.

  • Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Ham Hill Country Park have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage
  • Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund
  • First major tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

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 Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, 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.”

Councillor Sarah Dyke, Portfolio Holder for the Environment said: “Lock down was a challenging period for everyone, sadly works at the Country Park partially halted and this grant now gives us the ability to catch up with our programme of ecological conservation and heritage preservation works. We know how important Ham Hill is to so many people, by finding new ways to interpret it, that can be safely accessed at the current time, we know people can continue to explore and enjoy the fabulous monument.

“Ham Hill has been a Country Park since 1975 but since pre historic times the site has been an important centre for trade and communities. The Romans built the Fosse Way, now the route of the A303, that runs beneath the hill and post lock down many families chose Ham Hill as a place to meet, part way between their homes and close to the main arterial route. The site experienced incredibly high levels of use throughout the summer, some of it to the detriment of the monument and its habitats. This grant will give the SSDC ranger team the boost it needs to remedy any damage and prepare the site for the spring. Watch the sites social media feeds in the coming months for new films and content about its fascinating history and exciting new projects.”

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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