The Heritage Lottery Fund has given £10 million in grants to Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge, Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, Cardigan Castle in Ceredigion and the No1 Royal Crescent in Bath as part of a period planners at the adjudicating body have described as “pivotal”.
The sites have been awarded the money for a series of projects loaded with potential, including extended space for education and events at Kettle’s Yard and Charleston, a restoration of the “structural fabric” and new heritage centre at the castle and increased exhibition space at the Grade I-listed Royal Crescent.
“These projects funded today demonstrate the huge breadth of our investment and our commitment to championing all sorts of heritage,” claimed HLF Chair Dame Jenny Abramsky, setting out the Fund’s priorities in cash-strapped times.
“This is a pivotal time for the Heritage Lottery Fund, as we are currently asking people how we should spend our money in the future.
"We are, however, living in tough times and there is considerable competition for our grants so value for money and offering a wide range of benefits, such as providing local people with training and volunteering opportunities and saving heritage at risk continue to be crucial.”
Sculpture sultan Antony Gormley praised the “vital” £2.32 million donation to Kettle’s Yard, predicting it would allow unprecedented audience numbers to absorb the “wonderful” displays inside the exhibition halls and museum space.
“Kettle’s Yard is an invaluable visual resource for the university and town that combines a foundational collection made at the birth of modernism in Britain with an evolving programme of contemporary art,” he said.
“It is a necessary balance to the historical collections of the Fitzwilliam [Museum] and a lively and living place to experience art.”
At Charleston, the Lewes barn where pioneering artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant once lived, a £2.4 million windfall will allow the Grade II-listed former country retreat of Victoria Woolf to be redeveloped, enlisting 200 volunteers and 15 interns along the way.
“I have known and loved this house and its surrounding buildings for more than 50 years,” said Virginia Nicholson, Bell’s granddaughter.
“I played on the farm as a child, and I am delighted to think that Charleston has such an exciting future in the 21st century”.
The Medieval Cardigan Castle has won the largest grant, receiving £4.7 million, and the No1 Royal Crescent, in the Bath Spa, will have two buildings reconnected for larger display spaces with a £1.4 million award.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has launched a three-month consultation on its strategy for 2013-2019. Visit www.hlf.org.uk/consultation2011 to have your say.