The Heart of the City Partnership, the charity that operates Newcastle Castle, is one of a number of 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.
The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage has awarded The Heart of the City Partnership - Newcastle Castle a grant to help maintain and adapt operations at this cherished family-friendly heritage attraction that gave Newcastle its name to enable development of alternative means of supporting school learning, trial new ways of audience engagement, whilst keeping the venue open to the public safely and supporting staff working in the sector.
“Pre-pandemic, Newcastle Castle was a highly successful, self-funding charitable operation. We were open 7 days per week, 362 days per year as a family-friendly visitor attraction receiving 35,000 plus visitors both foreign and national, over 5000 school pupil visits as part of our learning offer and holding around 70 night-time cultural events. We were putting the castle back into Newcastle as part of the lifeblood of the city.
We had to close to the public in mid-March. As a small charity, operations rely pre-dominantly on earned income to survive and pursue our charitable objectives. We have always strived to be viable, without the need for external funding. Although we re-opened our doors on 24th July visitor numbers are much lower than previous years and some income-generating areas of operations cannot be re-opened safely yet. We expect this to continue for some time ahead.
The funding that we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is a lifeline to us. It will allow us to adapt and bolster our operations, support schools in their work and see ourselves into the main 2021 visitor season and beyond giving us vital time to re-establish levels of business and re-open other areas of operations, if it is safe to do so.”
Ben Smith, CEO, The Heart of the City Partnership, Newcastle Castle.
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.
Some other organisations awarded grants from this fund include famous heritage sites like 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.