The Watercress Line has announced that it has received a £492,200 grant as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help the railway reopen.
The award covers three months of staff and infrastructure costs including repair work on track and bridges.
Last years £600,000 grant helped the railway to survive the pandemic, with staff kept in employment and the delivery of the Steam Illuminations event in December 2020.
The second round of awards now look towards reopening as part of the reopening plan announced by the government to bring the UK out of its third lockdown.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.
“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”
Simon Baggott, General Manager of The Watercress Line, said: “The money that the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage has injected into the railway has been vital for its survival during the pandemic. It’s not an overstatement to say that it has kept the railway in business and our staff in jobs.”
“We’re delighted to have been awarded this grant and excited that we’re able to continue with our mission to preserve part of the country’s railway heritage for generations to come.”
Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal wellbeing.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “The value of our heritage sites and the people who run them has been amply demonstrated, as they have provided an anchor for so many of us through the dark days of the last year. Vital grants from the Culture Recovery Fund have helped them survive and will now help them recover, as the places we all cherish start to reopen in the months ahead.”
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