Alton Castle, part of the Kenelm Youth Trust, Archdiocese of Birmingham, is among 140 heritage organisations to benefit from the recent share of the £15.5 million latest round of awards.

This award from the Government’s latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure Alton Castle can recover from the impact of the pandemic and run with reduced capacity across the winter while schools are still struggling to arrange educational residential trips.

The Kenelm Youth Trust is a Youth Work organisation working with youth groups, churches and schools across the West Midlands. It has two residential centres in Alton, Staffordshire.

Soli for 14–25-year-olds and Alton Castle for 10–13-year-olds.

Alton Castle is a scheduled monument and is home to a retreat centre welcoming thousands of children on spiritual and outdoor educational retreats. The award will support the core costs of maintaining this significant heritage site this winter.

Sandra Satchell, CEO Kenelm Youth Trust, said: "The Kenelm Youth Trust is delighted to be awarded this ongoing support for Alton Castle to ensure while capacity levels and income are both reduced, we can continue to care for the Castle site, heat, and care for our historic Pugin gothic buildings, undertake minor repairs and install air purifiers where needed into dormitories and meeting rooms to enable visitor capacity to increase. We are grateful for this essential support during this challenging time and into the New Year.’’ 

Elsewhere in the Archdiocese Harvington Hall in Worcestershire also received £49,000 through the Culture Recovery Fund, which will ensure it survives through the winter and can prepare for the future with upgrades in its infrastructure.

Nearly 140 heritage organisations in England will benefit from the £15.5 million thanks to the government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

A total of £138 million has been awarded to heritage organisations from the three rounds of the government’s £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund support package made available for arts, culture, and heritage organisations during the pandemic. This third round of grants are part of the additional £300 million announced by the Chancellor.

Heritage Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said:

"I'm delighted that this vital funding from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund is giving so many brilliant heritage organisations a helping hand this winter. I want everyone to enjoy what our fascinating and diverse heritage has to offer and with this money we're safeguarding these organisations for generations to come."

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“This latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage provides a welcome Christmas boost for Heritage organisations. With the situation changing daily, the funding will be crucial in helping heritage sites navigate their seasonal activities ensuring the safety of their visitors and their communities. The grants will also support organisations in implementing business plans as they work round the challenges for the coming year, helping financial sustainability and driving tourism so that we can look to a bright future for our heritage sector.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said:

“We are delighted that the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage grants continue to keep so many heritage organisations going. From major historic buildings to small community organisations promoting local heritage – all deserve this support, to continue to open up to everyone the opportunities that our shared history creates.”

Investing in heritage will support Covid-19 economic recovery and make communities better places to live, creating jobs, driving tourism, and improving wellbeing.

The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in partnership with Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Alton Castle photo courtesy of Tom Machin