South Devon Railway secures second round of grant funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage

South Devon Railway to receive £165,900 and a further offer of £257,800 reserves top-up from second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

  • The South Devon Railway (SDR) 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 help to safeguard the SDR’s future

The SDR in Devon has received a grant of £165,900 and a further offer of £257,800 reserves top-up 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 the South Devon Railway in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced on Friday.

The ‘Culture Recovery For Heritage’ grant will fund staff costs and essential overheads through to June 30 2021. Importantly, the grants are being distributed by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) in partnership with Historic England, based on criteria set by DCMS.

The SDR has 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 SDR’s huge £2 million loss of revenue last 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.     

Commenting on the grant award, SDR Chairman Jon Morton said:

“We are all bowled over to have received this second round of grant support and offer towards our reserves thanks to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Historic England. It’s really fantastic news for us and so greatly appreciated!

“It will certainly provide us with the additional vital financial lifeline needed for the railway’s continued survival, and we are confident that all of the projects to gain support will help get the much-loved steam trains of the South Devon Railway running normally again very soon, hopefully in May.


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.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

“Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

 Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

 “Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal wellbeing.” 


Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:

 “The value of our heritage sites and the people who run them has been amply demonstrated, as they have provided an anchor for so many of us through the dark days of the last year. Vital grants from the Culture Recovery Fund have helped them   survive and will now help them recover, as the places we all cherish start to reopen in the months ahead.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England as well as the British Film Institute and Arts Council England

Notes to Editors

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund would be boosted with a further £300 million investment. Details of this third round of funding will be announced soon.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund 

 Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

About Historic England

We are Historic England, the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.


South Devon Railway Limited, Registered Office:
The Station, Dartbridge Road, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0DZ
Registered in England No. RS008114
Community Benefit Society No. 8114

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