Northumberland National Park has been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage as part of the Here For Culture campaign by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The £132,800 grant will be used to provide additional resources as the COVID-19 Government Lockdown restrictions begin to ease and more people are expected to visit the National Park.
After the first lockdown eased in 2020, there was a record number of visitors coming into the National Park to benefit their health and wellbeing, which caused the need for additional resources for visitor management.
The Park predicts a similar pattern of visitor numbers as the weather brightens, and restrictions ease, allowing people to travel further afield for exercise.
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The aim of the Park is that through greater resources for visitor management and through providing new experiences for new visitors it will help the move towards future sustainability, spreading visitor pressure, encouraging repeat visits, and generating income.
The grant will be used to place more Rangers and volunteers in the Park during the busy period, ensure all facilities are cleaned regularly, install additional car park matting to manage excess traffic at key sites, support new and different audiences to access the National Park, develop heritage trails and new on-site interpretation and produce a campaign to help welcome new visitors to the Park.
Northumberland National Park is one of 2,700 recipients of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which was set up to help cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites, and other cultural organisations deal with the immediate challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Rosie Thomas, Director at Northumberland National Park Authority said: “We are extremely grateful for the recent funding; it will help us provide a better visitor experience and better manage the strain on key sites. We were amazed at how many new and different people came to the Park last summer, many of which have never been here before. This funding will help us manage our resources, ensuring everyone can enjoy the unique qualities of our landscape safely.
“We know that nature and outdoor exercise has been important for people’s wellbeing in the last year, and we are committed to ensuring that people and nature can recover together as we come out of the latest lockdown.”
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.”