Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway has announced it is one of 445 heritage organisations across the UK to receive a financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 bn Culture Recovery Fund.
The RHDR will be able to restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on its heritage sites.
The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway has been awarded up to £470,000; this will be used to keep the railway running and will help prepare for the 2021 season.
The funding has come from the Government-funded Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund.
The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway has joined the Severn Valley Railway in announcing grants.
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.”
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.”
Danny Martin – General Manager of the RHDR reflected on the closure of the railway for part of this year the first time in its 93 year history and how this award will ensure it can continue to open through the winter with additional running days in November, January and February and be ready for many more visitors in the main season from March 2021. To achieve this our people have much to do each winter to ensure the railway in all aspects is safe, well looked after and justifies its position as the “world’s finest mainline in miniature” a position it has held for 93 years and longs to progress to its centenary and well beyond. This will, without doubt, make this possible and we are both relieved and very grateful for the chance this gives us and the confidence it shows in our ability to work hard and deliver the best possible railway in 2021 and beyond.
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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