Date issued: 12 October 2020
Colchester + Ipswich Museums has been awarded £84,500 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.
Colchester + Ipswich Museums is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently-needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for the cultural sector and this grant will enable Colchester + Ipswich Museums to continue to deliver the high levels of service that they were providing to the public before the global pandemic began.
Colchester + Ipswich Museums comprise of Colchester Castle, The Natural History Museum and Hollytrees Museum in Colchester, and Ipswich Museum, Ipswich Art Gallery and Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. The museum service not only helps preserve both town’s rich heritage and history but contribute to the local tourism economy.
Thanks to this grant, Colchester’s Natural History Museum, an award-winning museum, which is hugely popular with younger families, will now be able to re-open its doors for the first time since the pandemic began.
The grant will also help support both town’s educational initiatives. The team has worked hard to ensure its venues remain a safe learning environment for schools but recognise the challenges around social distancing and travel. To enable schools to continue to access educational resources during the pandemic a package is being developed that includes a 360 degree tour, objects and teaching aids – as well as a relevant goody bag – to allow teachers and children to recreate a museum visit from the comfort of their classroom.
These services have been developed during the past few months as a result of the pandemic and are a great example of how the service is working to continue to enable the younger generation access to the museum's vast collections. More details will be announced over the coming months.
Colchester Borough Council has been faced with a challenging year, resulting in a £2million funding gap in this year’s budget and a projected gap of £3.5 million for 2021. The council is currently reviewing the services it offers to the community and unfortunately some difficult decisions will have to be made. The announcement of funding today will ensure that Colchester + Ipswich Museums can now plan and provide a sustainable long-term recovery plan for its services as it seeks to diversify its funding from trusts, foundations and donations in the future.
The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.
“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”
Councillor Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance and Deputy Leader of the Council, added: “Faced with a year of great financial challenges this funding is extremely welcomed. It will ensure that our museums that are home to many internationally important objects can continue to provide enjoyment to its visitors each year, and support schools in bringing history to life for thousands of children. The team can continue to provide its award-winning high standards of service to all our visitors and enrich our local communities, and in turn help support the local tourism economy.”
Colchester Borough Council and Colchester + Ipswich Museums are delighted our Strategic Arts Partners have also received much needed support today.