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Cultural Investment Fund sees nearly 70 museums & libraries in England share £33mn

Melanie May | 27 March 2024 | News

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The latest round of the Cultural Investment Fund has seen 26 museums given funding, in addition to 43 library services, sharing more than £33 million. New funding rounds are open.

The funding will support upgrades to museums and public libraries – such as repairs, renovations and the development of digital infrastructure.

These include Dinosaur Isle on the Isle of Wight, which has been awarded almost £500,000 for structural repairs to its roof and improvements to the environment and lighting. The museum holds an internationally significant collection of dinosaurs, forming the UK’s second largest collection after the Natural History Museum.

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Nearly £400,000 has been awarded to Newcastle Libraries to create a new reading facility in a disused part of the Walker Activity Dome. It will also support increased opening hours and create a flexible community space.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been awarded more than £250,000 to restore and repair its 200-year-old, Grade II-listed Cut Bridge. The bridge forms a key route across the park, as well as forming an integral part of the 18th and 19th century design and development of the estate.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

“Museums and libraries are the bedrock of the community across the country, helping to inspire the creativity and curiosity of young people and begin lifelong passions for reading, learning, history and the arts.

 

“This major cultural investment will continue our work to level up access to culture across the country, with beneficiaries from St Ives to Sunderland and from Medway to Tyneside, building on the £100 million of further Levelling Up funding for cultural and heritage projects confirmed at this month’s Budget.”

Darren Henley, Arts Council England Chief Executive, said:

“Museums make a huge contribution to the lives of people in towns and cities across England.  This investment in the physical fabric of their buildings helps to make sure that our museums are able to carry on serving their communities for years to come. We’re excited to be delivering the next round of the programme on behalf of the DCMS because we know the positive impact this investment has on helping museums make a real difference across the country.”

All regions of England have received funding, which comes through the Museum Estate and Development Fund and the Libraries Improvement Fund – both part of the Cultural Investment Fund. Three capital funds make up the Cultural Investment Fund: the Cultural Development Fund, Museum Estate and Development Fund, and Libraries Improvement Fund – two of which are currently open for expressions of interest for the next rounds of funding.

Cultural Development Fund

This fund unlocks local growth, productivity and regenerate communities through capital investment in culture. This is not currently open, with expressions of interest having opened in February, and closed on 15 March.

Libraries Improvement Fund

The £20.5 million Libraries Improvement Fund transforms public library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and improve their digital infrastructure so they are better placed to respond to the changing ways people are using them. Local authorities can bid for the money on behalf of their library services.

52 projects have already shared around £10 million of funding in previous rounds. Former recipients include Stoke Libraries, which received £300,000 to modernise Longton and Stoke libraries with updated flexible and welcoming spaces, and Sandwell Library and Information Service, which received £495,000 to install open-access technology at 10 of their 19 libraries, enabling users to access libraries beyond staffed opening hours.

Expressions of interest for the third round of funding open on 17 April with a deadline of midday on 19 June.

Museum Estate and Development Fund

The £86 million Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) is to help museums across the country to deliver a better experience for visitors and staff, make access and environmental improvements, unlock income-generating opportunities, and continue to protect treasured buildings and collections for future generations. It is open to museums in England accredited by the Arts Council that are not directly funded by DCMS. This is the third round of funding, bringing the total amount of investment so far to more than £62 million for 93 museums.

Through this third round of the fund, 26 projects will receive a share of £22.6 million.

A fourth round of funding, worth £23.8 million, was announced in February with a deadline of midday on 18 April for expressions of interest.

More information on all funding opportunities here.

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