Avon Valley Railway at Bitton celebrates £97,400 grant from Culture Recovery Fund


Avon Valley Railway has received a grant of £97,400 from the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.

Nearly £400m has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country, including the heritage railway based at Bitton Station in the latest round of support, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced today.

The award will enable the railway’s staff and volunteers to undertake vital repair and maintenance works delayed by the downturn in trade during the pandemic. The funds will also help to ensure the railway’s longer-term sustainability.

More than £800m 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.

This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to over £1.2bn across more than 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Mark Simmons, Avon Valley Railway’s commercial and business manager, said: “We are really pleased to be awarded this funding. The last 12 months have been incredibly difficult for us as we saw a significant reduction in our income throughout 2020. This award means that our staff and volunteers can start to clear the backlog of tasks that had to be put on hold and we can now look forward to the future with more certainty.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400m pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. It has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England as well as the British Film Institute and Arts Council England.