The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway has announced that they have been awarded two grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage.
£318,000 has been awarded to the Glos Warks Railway, and £26,100 has been awarded to the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Group, which is based at the line.
Both grants are part of the first wave of grants under the Here For Culture campaign.
Richard Winstanley, the voluntary Finance Director of the GWSR, says he is “absolutely delighted and relieved” with the grant to the popular volunteer-run railway, which operates steam and heritage diesel trains through 14 miles of Cotswold countryside between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway.
“The grant is intended to help us continue vital maintenance, run the business and pay the bills including the salaries of our seven staff, at a time when the railway has suffered the huge financial impact of cancelling services and special events for five months, during what would have been our peak season.
“And, although we are running trains once again, fare income is much reduced thanks to the need for social distancing, which halves the capacity of our trains.
“It will be a vital boost in helping to overcome financial shortfalls as the railway emerges from lockdown, whenever that happens. The fund is a key initiative and I applaud the government in recognising the importance of underpinning the security of a wide range of organisations, including the GWSR, for the future.”
Of the grant for the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Group, Kenneth Sims, the group’s Chairman said: “This will help us complete one of the most extensive steam locomotive overhauls ever undertaken in the heritage sector, at a time when because of Covid-19 work has slowed significantly. It also means that important work awarded to contractors can be completed in this £400,000 overhaul, helping to ensure the historic 1942-built Great Western heavy freight locomotive no. 3850 will return to steam as soon as possible.”
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 which administers the Culture Recovery Fund said: “It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support from the 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.”
She added: “Our heritage is facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet. But this hugely welcome funding and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery will undoubtedly stop heritage and the organisations that care for it from being permanently lost.”
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