IHBC features ‘Heritage from the doorstep’: North Staffs sites share in £1.57bn fund for support through pandemic

Ford Green Hall and Middleport Pottery in North Staffordshire are among the heritage organisations to receive funding to support them though pandemic.

… funding will be a ‘huge boost’ for the team at Ford Green Hall…

… Tourism is one of the main contributors to the economy in our city…

StokeonTrentLive writes:

Community leaders have welcomed extra cash to help some of the city’s top heritage attractions during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 400 organisations nationally are to share in the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, which will go towards vital repairs and maintenance work, keep venues open and save jobs and livelihoods.

In Stoke-on-Trent, places benefiting include Ford Green Hall, in Smallthorne, and Middleport Pottery, which are receiving £12,000 and £26,300 respectively.

Joan Walley, former MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, says the funding will be a ‘huge boost’ for the team at Ford Green Hall, who were previously awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.

“Ford Green Hall has gone from strength to strength thanks to the volunteers,” she added. “Not only do they run a wonderful venue, but a real community hub that is always looking for more people to help who have time on their hands to spare.

“I hope that this funding leads to more successful applications for the team because it’s such a huge boost for them, which will help them to plan to resume their services when it is safe to do so.

“I think that Ford Green Hall is more beautiful than Anne Hathaway’s cottage. We are lucky to have such a wonderful location in our city and I’m really pleased for the team.”

The current Stoke-on-Trent North MP, Jonathan Gullis, also welcomed the Government support.

He said: “Museums and tourist destinations have struggled over the summer due to uncertainty caused by the pandemic. I know how vital this money is to Middleport Pottery and Ford Green Hall. I want to thank the Government and Historic England in ensuring that they are receiving what they need.

“While local initiatives like Stoke-cation helped boost footfall, levels were still well below what they should have been during the summer holidays.

“This has had a real impact on donations and admissions, which are a vital source of funding to keep the lights on and the roofs repaired. Middleport Pottery and Ford Green Hall have a special place in the hearts of Stokies and our city’s history, and this money will help them recover from the pandemic.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said, “It is heartening to see grants 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.”

Councillor James Smith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s heritage champion, also thanked Historic England for making sure the city did not miss out.

“Tourism is one of the main contributors to the economy in our city because of our amazing and unique industrial heritage,” he said.

“It is vital that we must do all we can to help these institutions survive the pandemic, so that we can enjoy them again with family and friends. This funding will help keep these amazing sites ticking over while we get through the winter.”

The Culture Recovery Fund will be administered by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help secure the future of Britain’s cultural sites such as museums, theatres, galleries and heritage sites.

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