Our recent application bid to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) ‘Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage’ for financial support has been successful. This means we will receive a grant of £332,000.
The ‘Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage’ fund was created by DCMS to help heritage organisations all over the country survive and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The success of this application is fundamental to the immediate future of the railway as it enables us to bring people back to work and prepare for the planned Christmas 2020 running of Polar Express ™ trains plus the planned reopening of the railway in full in 2021.
The ‘Culture Recovery for Heritage’ grant will fund staff costs and essential overheads through to the start of the new season. The bidding process was reviewed and then delivered jointly by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Historic England.
The funds have to be spent by 31st March 2021 and we have put together an action plan to make sure that the organisation is viable in the future.
This includes a review of long term objectives and strategy following the loss of revenue this year and the changed operating environment due to the pandemic, as well as staff re-training, volunteer recruitment and boosting longer-term fund-raising for capital projects.
SDR chairman, Jon Morton, said: “We are all bowled over to have received this fantastic grant support thanks to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England.
“It will certainly provide us the vital financial lifeline needed for the railway’s continued survival.
“From all sources, we have now raised or received a wonderful total of financial help all told of £831,432.39 and we are still raising money to try and get to our next target of £1 million!”
This figure has been achieved via the SOS Appeal, donations, smaller grants and the Buckfastleigh site openings, which are still going on, which totals £374,632.39; an earlier NLHF Heritage Emergency Fund grant of £124,800, and now this latest DCMS Culture Recovery Fund grant of £332,000.
445 heritage organisations in England, including the SDR, have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, each sharing a part of £103 million.