The Bodmin and Wenford Railway has announced that they have been awarded £260,000 as part of the Culture Recovery Fund to help their future after the coronavirus pandemic.
The railway usually welcomes 60,000 visitors a year, but with doors closed in March 2020, it is yet to reopen and run a steam train.
David Nelson-Brown, Chairman of the Bodmin & Wenford Railway PLC, said: “This year has been hugely challenging for all here at the railway. We’re hugely grateful for this award, which is absolutely vital to the survival of the railway beyond this winter. The money received will cover our core costs, enable us to continue a small amount of essential restoration work and support us as an organisation to adapt for the future including reopening costs, covid-19 measures and digital ticketing. There are still many challenges ahead, but we’re delighted that the railway has been recognised as an invaluable heritage location and a unique experience here in Cornwall. We can now continue with the hard work, supported by our dedicated and passionate team of volunteers who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, to get ready to run trains again from Spring 2021.”
Philip Andrews, Chairman of the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust, said: “As a charitable Trust we’re committed to the preservation of our railway heritage for many years to come. Since the start of the covid-19 crisis, we have been working closely with the other groups within the railway to make sure that our industrial and social history is protected and remains available to be shared and enjoyed by future generations. This award enables us to drive these objectives forward.”
Support is still needed though, with the Bodmin and Wenford Railway launching their next phase of fundraising in the coming weeks/months.
Steve Ackland, Commercial Manager at Bodmin & Wenford Railway said: “For so many families a visit to the railway is an annual tradition, and whilst we aren’t able to offer our usual trip given the current restrictions, we’ve created a new, magical experience – so Christmas isn’t cancelled! We’ve got a special arrangement with Santa, and regardless of the circumstances we’ll be able to share some of our unique brand of festive cheer.”
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 bounce back post covid.”
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.”
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