BARROW-IN-FURNESS has been awarded a £120,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to support local heritage groups after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ‘Barrow’s Heritage – Micro to Mighty’ programme follows a collaboration between Barrow Borough Council and the Fund in 2017 to award microgrants of between £200 and £3,000 to 20 groups in the area.
Heritage groups across Barrow received funding for projects to work with schools, people with disabilities, the LGBT and black and minority ethnic and other local communities.
But the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard and left many of them reeling.
Now, the National Lottery Heritage Fund-backed ‘Barrow’s Heritage – Micro to Mighty’ programme will allow them to continue the work they began in 2017.
‘Barrow’s Heritage – Micro to Mighty’ will also work with the groups to find extra funding to keep their work going.
Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: "News of this Micro to Mighty award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is truly excellent news.
"The micro grants provided to 20 local groups in 2017 made a huge difference, allowing them to reach out and connect the rich heritage we are lucky to have here in Barrow with a wide range of people across our communities.
"This funding means that incredible work can now continue, ensuring our heritage is accessible for all. I look forward to seeing these groups thrive and people's general interest and understanding of our heritage grow as this fascinating and worthwhile project moves forward."
News of the funding award was marked with a visit to Barrow by the Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Eilish McGuinness.
Barrow Town Hall, The Dock Museum, Barrow's Heritage Action Zone on Duke Street, Piel Island and Walney Island were all included on the visit.
“Heritage is for everyone; it can be anything from the past that you value and want to pass on to future generations and it has the power to support communities, strengthen economies and to change lives” said Eilish McGuinness.
“I’m very proud that we’re collaborating again with Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council on the ‘Barrow’s Heritage – Micro to Mighty’ programme to continue to make heritage accessible in Cumbria and it’s thanks to National Lottery players that we are able to make this investment.”
‘Barrow’s Heritage – Micro to Mighty’ will continue the 2017 microgrant programme and employ a full-time heritage project officer for 18 months.
The heritage officer is going to organise heritage events in the town and mentor heritage groups in Barrow to develop and grow.
Among their other tasks, the heritage officer will also set up a heritage network so that individuals and organisations in Barrow can come together to share best practice.
Barrow’s magnificent Grade II* Listed Town Hall is also part of the ‘Barrow’s Heritage – Micro to Mighty’ programme and there will be a consultation about using it as a community facility.