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- Funding boost for The Brontë Society

Brontë Parsonage Museum awarded £119k by Culture Recovery Fund
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The Brontë Society has been awarded £119,200 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.
The Brontë Society, which administers the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, is one of 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. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum reopened at the end of August after being closed for the longest period in its 92-year history, but continues to face challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Haworth Parsonage, former home of the Brontë family and the place where the novels Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were written, usually welcomes more than 70,000 people from across the world each year, but social distancing requirements currently limit the Museum’s capacity to accommodate visitors in the numbers required to be sustainable.

The funding will support the organisation during the traditionally quieter autumn and winter months and contribute to a varied programme of digital activity to sustain engagement with audiences and communities unable to visit the Museum due to location, disability or other barrier. 

Trish Gurney, Chair of the Brontë Society Board of Trustees, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with some of the most challenging circumstances we have ever found ourselves in.  There is still some uncertainty ahead but the award from the Culture Recovery Fund means we can face the future with more confidence and ensure that we can continue to fulfil our mission to bring the Brontës to the world and the world to Yorkshire. We are very grateful to Arts Council England and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for their award and for the public recognition of our contribution to culture in the UK.”

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.”
The Brontë Society has also been raising funds through a public Just Giving campaign, which was given a boost last week thanks to a donation of £25,000 from the Charlotte Aitken Trust.  

Sebastian Faulks, Chair of the Charlotte Aitken Trust, said:
“The Charlotte Aitken Trust was set up with money left in the will of the literary agent Gillon Aitken (1938-2016) in memory of his only child, Charlotte.
We are delighted to support the Brontë Parsonage Museum appeal. It is the first grant the charity has made and it could not be in a better cause. Haworth is an important part of our literary heritage and it is sobering to think that the Brontë sisters were writing their great novels at the roughly the same age that Charlotte Aitken had reached when she died.
Whatever the temporary restrictions on visitors, we hope the Brontë Society and the Brontë Parsonage Museum will continue to flourish.”
Rebecca Yorke, Brontë Society Head of Communications, said:

“The generous donation by the Charlotte Aitken Trust is a very welcome boost to our fundraising campaign, and has helped us reach our initial target of £100,000. We are very grateful to Sebastian Faulks and the other trustees.  Their support will help us survive this  period of crisis and ensure that we can continue to promote the Brontë legacy and support writers and artists working today.”

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