The Churnet Valley Railway is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. This award will secure the future of the railway following the global pandemic that has thwarted many heritage sites and operations around the country.
The Churnet Valley Railway ‘CVR’ in the Staffordshire Moorlands has received a grant of £283,000 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen. Nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Churnet Valley Railway in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.
The impact of this global pandemic has forced the CVR to enter an enforced hibernation. The popular heritage railway in the Staffordshire Moorlands, runs steam and diesel train services on weekends, high days and holidays throughout the year. Regular trading income supports the day to day operation of the mainly volunteer run organisation as well as supports capital works such as the Leek Extension.
This award will help us get back on track with our deferred projects from 2020, enable us to run training courses for our staff who operate our services, settle some outstanding customer refunds, and settle supplier accounts from our cancelled Santa and Steam event.
It sets us up for a successful 2021 and provides us the toolkit to clearly demonstrate to all that we will be open for business from the 23rd June. This date gives us sufficient time to ensure safety checks and deferred maintenance on all our assets are completed and gives the great British public more time to adjust to a post lockdown way of life as well as giving the ongoing vaccine drive a greater reach.
Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.
The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.
Gregory Wilson, Managing Director of CVR comments:
“We are delighted to receive this award, not only does it reaffirm that we a central part of the heritage scene in the Staffordshire Moorlands, but it also enables us to put the railway on a safe financial footing following the awful year that was 2020. Our volunteers will be relieved that years of hard work will not be wasted. We recognise through our own problems in 2020 the hard work required to keep a business going during the pandemic and therefore the fact the Government has created this, and other funds give us hope that heritage will continue to be a central part of British culture and reaffirms what a central part heritage businesses like ours bring to the tourist economy”
The Churnet Valley Railway stated operating in 1996 on track from the former closed section of the British Rail line, following a successful campaign to raise £120,000 to make this happen. Today the railway runs a wide variety of steam, diesel engines and specially preserved coaches on select days and events throughout the year. The railway also has plans to extend the line to serve the town of Leek in the near future with planning permission already obtained toward this end.
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