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Chetham’s Library receives lifeline Culture Recovery Fund grant

Chetham’s Library has been awarded £66,400, as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Chetham’s Library is among 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.

Chetham’s Library is Manchester’s oldest building, dating back to 1421, and a registered museum. Next year will mark the 600th anniversary of the medieval building’s construction. It is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.

The lifeline £66,400 funding will allow the specialist team to continue to conserve Chetham’s Library’s priceless collections and medieval buildings for future generations, while planning a new public programme once tours are able to resume again.

Fergus Wilde, Chetham’s Librarian, said:

“This announcement comes as a huge relief – and also an important turning point. With no public tours or reading room access since March, this has been the longest period of public closure in Chetham’s Library’s history. But we can now begin to plan for the future. This funding will help us develop our new public programme as we plan to welcome back visitors, once it is safe to do so. We can also continue to provide vital, specialist care for our irreplaceable collection and our historic site, conserving our priceless heritage for future generations.

“Our financial struggle is not over. We again thank everyone who continues to donate to our Covid-19 Crisis Appeal, which remains vital to us until we are able to resume full capacity public tours and venue hire events. Nevertheless, this government funding is a major boost to our survival.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

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