The government’s Culture Recovery Fund will contribute £103 million to heritage organisations in England to help during the Covid-19 pandemic. A total of 445 organisations will receive a share of the money, which is intended to help in restarting repair and maintenance work, to keep venues open and save jobs. But is this government investment enough to support this struggling sector?
The government explained that the funding would come from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund. It will be administered by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the wider £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, which intends to “secure the future” of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues.
A share of £67 million will be split across 433 organisations to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. Organisations to receive grants, which will be between £10,000 and £1 million, include Blackpool’s Winter Gardens; the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire; Gloucester Cathedral; and Highclere Castle.
However, research conducted by Historic England suggests that nearly four out of five (76%) of respondents reported lost business in the short term, and three out of five (58%) had postponed or cancelled income-generating events. Smaller charities and faith-based organisations have been badly affected by the unavailability of volunteers. One business in four (25%) have experienced delays in being paid for goods and services while one in three (31%) have incurred additional costs to the business to cope with social distancing measures.
The survey indicates that the most vulnerable of the respondents are either:
- craftspeople / smaller crafts-based businesses
- ‘professional services’: architects / surveyors / engineers
These groups have in common the relatively high fixed costs of their office/workshop/studio accommodation compared with many sole traders. Small consultancies are slightly less vulnerable, while both faith-based organisations and Trusts with heritage purposes face the future with somewhat greater confidence.
Over 40% of these businesses forecast their businesses failing within 3 months, even with current Government investment support schemes.
How can we help you?
At ethical partnership, we are experts in planning for the historic environment, and can assist in applications for listed buildings, heritage statements, as well as many other services linked to conservation, such as objections to unacceptable applications. We are here to support all those within the heritage sector to ensure we preserve these vital parts of our history, culture and economy. Please contact us if you would like support with your heritage or conservation project: