Nene Valley Railway receives grant of over £479,000 as part of government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Nene Valley Railway has received a grant of over £479,000 as part of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund today (April 2).

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:55 am
Wansford signal box (Photo by Stan Bell).
Wansford signal box (Photo by Stan Bell).

The £479,765 grant will enable the railway to replenish its reserves and sustain its operations from now until June.

Nene Valley Railway is one of the more than 2700 recipients to benefit from the latest rounds of funds to be released from the government’s £1.57 billion fund to help organisations recover and reopen.

The funding awarded today (April 2) is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to

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Nene Valley's popular Thomas ride (Photo by Stan Bell).

ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the

public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England as

well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, it is hoped that this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Peterborough Nene Valley Railway station (photo by Stan Bell).

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.

Nene Valley Railway, which benefited from emergency National Lottery funding in July, is both a living heritage railway, which is tended to by its loyal band of volunteers and a thriving attraction for the public to enjoy all year round.

It offers the chance to experience the thrill of riding a steam engine; learn about the railway’s history; and explore the picturesque surroundings of the Nene Valley area.

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.”

Kim Shaw, Acting General Manager at Nene Valley Railway, said: “Hearing the news that Nene Valley Railway has been awarded grant funding from the Arts Council. England and the Department for

Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is just amazing news and helps give us the confidence

to look forward to 2021 with renewed enthusiasm.

“The railway is a valuable, historic venue for both volunteers and customers alike. Our railway provides a fantastic range of roles attracting volunteers of all ages both near and far who together enable us to continue to offer those volunteering roles, preserving and restoring our heritage site which allows us to run trains and events, sharing our passion with visitors and supporters both near and far.

“To know that we can continue to do this after a difficult year, keeping the passion and love

for our railway alive is an amazing feeling and we are proud to have been chosen for this award.

“Nene Valley Railway cannot express its thanks enough to Arts Council England and the DCMS Recovery Fund.”

Mike Kerfoot, Chairman of Nene Valley Railway, added: “Nothing could have prepared us for the year we have just experienced, and the challenges that many of us have faced on many levels have been unimaginable.

“On the Nene Valley Railway we had a season of exciting events to look forward to in 2020. Just as we began to move into the spring we had to rip up our plans, hunker down and prepare to weather the storm.

“On our railway we have the longest tunnel on any preserved railway and it has provided a metaphor for our year. We’ve been focused on the light at the end of that tunnel, distant though it has sometimes been.

“Throughout, our team of paid staff and volunteers have kept our railway alive but it always promised to be a long haul out of the darkness and into the sunlight.

“The Arts Council England Culture Recovery Grant is a step change for us, and we are very thankful for the award. Emerging into the daylight we can face the challenges ahead with renewed confidence. “Critically we can move much faster to resume our operations and welcome back our staff, our volunteers and our visitors.

“We have every reason to be excited and energised about the year ahead and we can once again celebrate the railway we love, and that brings so much joy to so many.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, concluded: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic.

“These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.

“We are grateful to the government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”