Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre , The East Lancashire Railway, Victoria Baths in Manchester, Blackpool Grand Theatre and St Michael & All Angels Church are among the latest recipients of Government money from the Culture Recovery Fund in the region this morning.

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Cheshire, the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Grade I listed Lovell Telescope, is one of the iconic sites receiving a grant to ensure it can be protected from the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Centre, which welcomes thousands of visitors every year, and is home to the incredibly popular Bluedot festival, will receive £125,600 to develop its online offer to engage visitors unable to attend the site, and install essential safety measures when visitors can return.

East Lancashire Railway, the UK’s fourth most visited railway, which runs between Heywood in Greater Manchester and Rawtenstall in Lancashire and has served as a filming location for films such as Paddington 2. The Railway will receive £641,600 to implement safety measures when visitors can return, carry out essential repairs and install security to ensure its important heritage is protected.

Mike Kelly, Chairman, East Lancashire Railway said: “We’re immensely proud of the timeless experience the East Lancashire Railway provides for hundreds of thousands of visitors a year – thanks to the dedication of our volunteers and staff.

“However, the coronavirus outbreak has plunged our entire, long-term future into jeopardy.

“This year alone we have been forced to make redundancies and we’re now facing a cliff-edge scenario with a 50 per cent drop in revenues, resulting in an historical six-figure loss, alongside a projected 50 per cent decline in revenues for 2021.

“As a charitable organisation, we are left in a perilous position as we wrestle with these unprecedented financial and operational challenges.

“The loss of the ELR to the North West and the wider Heritage Transport family would be catastrophic on any level, which is why we’re so incredibly grateful for the financial award from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

“Right now, with the railway again forced to close, it feels like the Culture Recovery Fund is the cavalry coming over the hill to save us.

“This incredible level of support helps cover our wages and operational costs for a precious few months and gives us an important breathing space to try and rebuild the railway’s finances.

“The lifeline also helps us to keep running services and ensures the railway remains Covid-secure so that we can preserve this unique heritage experience for our many thousands of visitors of all ages and secure an enduring legacy for future generations to come.”

Meanwhile Blackpool Grand Theatre, arguably the most complete surviving example of the work of the great theatre architect Frank Matcham, the famous designer of the London Palladium. The theatre, that has survived two world wars and seen stars such as Thora Hird,John Gielgud and Noel Coward tread the board to earn its place as one of Blackpool’s most important and iconic heritage buildings, will receive £24,250 to stabilise the site until major works can be undertaken at a later stage.


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