Two organisations which celebrate Sheffield’s heritage to receive £234,000 share of life-saving emergency grant

Two heritage organisations in Sheffield have been handed life-saving grants totalling over £234,000 to help them survive through the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Saturday, 10th October 2020, 4:45 pm

The National Emergency Services Museum (NESM) is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive cash from the government thanks to the £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

The future of the museum was thrown into serious doubt during the national lockdown after it was turned down for, or was unable to access, any previous emergency coronavirus funding.

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The volunteer team at Portland Works hard at work renovating the new Makerspace events room

In May it issued an urgent appeal for help and after a fantastic response from members of the public, local businesses and the local community NESM was able to raise vital funds to help towards its survival and ensure it was able to reopen last month.

Matthew Wakefield, the museum’s chief executive, said: “We were expecting that in this financial year we would lose about £180,000 in income due to the pandemic. This grant will cover the majority of our outgoings for the next six months, giving us an opportunity to recover financially and make sure we will be here for many years to come.

“It’s wonderful news for all of us at NESM as we’ve been working so hard to keep our museum afloat over the last six months.

"It’s also great to be able to share the news with all our visitors, friends and supporters who have given us so much encouragement during what has been a very difficult time.”

The portico entrance at Sheffield's historic Portland Works which dates back to 1879

The funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund, both which are part of the Culture Recovery Fund, designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

Portland Works, a former cutlery works in Highfield built in 1879, will also benefit from a share of the emergency grant to improve its organisational processes, develop new revenue streams and educational resources, and offset ongoing costs related to the Covid-19 crisis.

Credited as being the birthplace of stainless steel cutlery manufacturing, it was saved from residential coversion in 2013 by a social enterprise comprising of more than 500 community shareholders who are now undertaking an extensive renovation to the once-neglected building.

The Grade II* Listed building, which is now one of the last remaining working examples of a purpose built metal trades factory, has been reborn as a centre for small manufacturing, independent artists and craftspeople and is becoming a hub for education, art and community outreach.

The National Emergency Services Museum in Sheffield

Marco Foley, deputy chair of Portland Works, said: “This new Culture Recovery Fund grant will be invaluable to Portland Works. It gives us the help we need to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, put improved systems in place and emerge as a more robust organisation.

"This grant secures our medium-term future and will allow us to strengthen our support for tenant businesses and extend our outreach with the local community.”

The NESM and Portland Works will receive £100,000 and £134,400 respectively.

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