The Midland Railway Trust has been awarded £149,156 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary announced on the 17th October.

The Midland Railway Trust is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced today. This follows £257 million awarded earlier in the week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Midland Railway Trust operates the Midland Railway – Butterley, Ripley, Derbyshire, where it commemorates the former Midland Railway Company, celebrating the railway heritage of Derby and the surrounding region.  For over forty years it has welcomed visitors from all walks of life to explore that heritage through a variety of special events and other heritage train operating days.  However, it has been closed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is not anticipated that it will re-open until Spring 2021. In common with many organisations and businesses, with negligible income, the Trust’s future has been in some jeopardy, and so this grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund is a lifeline and will cover essential expenditure over the winter and early spring. The Midland Railway Trust is incredibly grateful for this support, which was available because it is currently Working Towards Museum Accreditation.

The grant will enable the Midland Railway Trust to secure the future of its collection and to deliver a re-organisation programme leading to long term sustainability.  This will largely be delivered by its amazing volunteers, who are preparing for a Covid secure re-opening next spring.  Prior to this the grant will also provide funds for key aspects of the re-opening programme, including marketing.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis.  We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Midland Railway Trust Chairman, Richard Ward, said:

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of Arts Council England in these challenging times. We are one of only three museums in the heritage railway sector to receive funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund.  The Midland Railway – Butterley has overcome many challenges in its rich history and we are determined that it will continue long into the future, developing and exceling as testimony to the former Midland Railway and its successors, and as a key attraction in the East Midlands’ economy.”