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Icon secures Culture Recovery Fund grant to invest in future resilience

Icon is delighted to annouce that we have received a major grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Icon, have been awarded money from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. We are delighted that we have been successful in securing much needed support in this major tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. Grants worth a total of £103 million will help to restart vital maintenance and repair work on cherished heritage sites, keep venues open and support conservators and other craftspeople and professionals working in the sector.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post-Covid.”

Icon, a membership organisation which brings together those with a passion for the care of cultural heritage, is one of the 445 heritage organisations that have been supported through this special initiative. We received a grant award of £99,400 which will enable us to commission valuable business development and marketing support, and also develop an online project gallery to support our student members. A portion of the funding will also be used to finance our digital transformation project, which includes commissioning a new membership database.

The news of our funding success comes at a critical time for professional bodies such as Icon. The last six months have been a very busy time for our staff and members, as we have worked together to provide support to our sector. We created a Covid-19 hub on our website to signpost to sources of advice on caring for collections during lockdown, and offered guidance on ‘waking up collections’ as heritage sites began to tentatively re-open to visitors. We also moved our professional devleopment activities online and have been bowled over by the international success of our Conservation Together at Home webinars, devised and delivered by our energetic special interest groups and networks.

However, while the immediate Covid-19 crisis may have passed, we are acutely aware that both our freelance members and those who work in museums and galleries face tough times ahead. We were deeply saddened to see that major cultural institutions, such as the National Trust and Historic Royal Palaces, have had to restructure their organisations in order to reduce operating costs, and we are very concerned that the vital work of conservation teams, which happens largely behind the scenes, will suffer as a result. In response to these challenges we recently published our Policy Statement on the Value of Care of Collections Professions and we remain fully committed to championing the important role played by conservation professionals in both public institutions and in private practice.

The funding that we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is hugely welcome and will ensure that we are able to continue to deliver our charitable objects and to achieve our strategic priorities. A key outcome of the package of work that we will undertake with the grant will be identifying, and securing, new sources of income so that we can ensure that our organisation remains stable and financially resilient for many years to come. Boosting our fundraising capacity and increasing our entrepreneurial skills will mean that we have a firm foundation to allow us to expand our activities and to continue advocating the value of conservation to stakeholders and the public.

Sara Crofts, Icon's Chief Executive said:

“Securing this timely and much needed financial support is hugely encouraging, and demonstrates that Icon is recognised as a vital organisation within the cultural heritage ecosystem. The work that we do to support the conservation profession has been acknowledged by funders and by policy-makers; their investment in our future is a testament to the importance of the role that we play in supporting the wider cultural heritage sector.”

Icon is delighted to have received support from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, which is funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The fund is part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said:

“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”

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

“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time. Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.  But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”

#HereForCulture is a movement that aims to unite the public, government and cultural organisations in support of our fantastic cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage.


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