Half-a-million to help get tourist attraction back on track
HERITAGE RAILWAY HAS BEEN HIT HARD BY THE PANDEMIC
THE Great Central Railway has been given more than £500,000 to help it bounce back from the coronavirus lockdown.
The railway, running between Loughborough and Leicester, is a big tourist attraction but has been unable to run during much of the past year, costing it about £3 million in lost revenue.
Yesterday, more of the charities and organisations getting cash from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund were announced – and it includes £515,700 for the heritage steam railway.
The grant, covering the period from April to June this year, will support the organisation with the costs it faces as it starts to welcome back visitors and makes the transition towards full reopening.
Michael Gough, the Great Central Railway’s managing director, said: “I cannot emphasise enough how much of a shot in the arm this is for us at such an incredibly difficult time.
“While we have successfully navigated the crisis thus far, the impact of Covid-19 has dealt the railway a £3 million income reduction blow in the past 12 months and this grant will significantly assist in the funding of actions we need to carry out to re-open Covidsecure and in line with government guidance.
“It will support us in the complex process of transitioning from months of lockdown and significant restriction and to return to the previous sustainable business model of welcoming over 110,000 visitors each year through our doors.”
More than £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.
Piccadilly Cinema, pictured below, in Green Lane Road, Spinney Hills, Leicester, has been given a small grant of £1,602 to make up for its lost income over the pandemic.
The Culture Recovery Fund has so far earmarked about £1.2 billion of its total money for more than 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.
The second round of awards announced yesterday is intended to help organisations to look ahead to the summer and plan for reopening and recovery.