Rockingham Castle handed Government cash boost

For almost 500 years, Rockingham Castle has remained in the hands of the Watson family

By Alison Bagley
Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 11:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 11:34 am

A popular Corby tourist attraction has been awarded a Covid-busting £273,400 cash lifeline by the Government as part of their £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

Rockingham Castle is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a financial boost to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund is being administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund that hopes to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues.

James Saunders Watson, owner of Rockingham Castle said: "We are delighted to have been awarded such a valuable and vital grant and are enormously grateful.

"This programme of support from the Government will enable us at Rockingham to modernise our facilities to allow us to fully comply with social distancing guidance. Without this funding we would not be able to continue to offer the level of visitor experience that we have always provided."

Money will be used to cover running costs and to enable the castle to become Covid-compliant.

A spokesman for Rockingham Castle said: "The grant that has been awarded is up to the value of £273,400. A significant proportion is to cover running costs and overheads for the six months between October and March. The remaining grant amount will be used to implement changes to our facilities to allow us to operate events and general opening for 2021.

Rockingham Castle

"We made our application for the grant to enable us to continue to operate safely and efficiently in a challenging world. We have been looking to develop our events to operate more easily outdoors particularly given the success of our food fair in 2019. We have tried to run this type of event this year but have been severely constrained by the numbers that we can host inside the castle.

"We are using the grant to refurbish and modernise our toilet facilities both inside the castle and in the wider visitor area. We are enhancing and improving the garden and grounds experience with a new children’s trail and a wider walking route taking in parts of the adjacent park to allow wider access and interaction to green spaces.

"We are going to renovate our ticket office to allow a larger space for our staff to work in, complying with government guidelines.

"We are looking to purchase temporary structures to enable a wider range of outdoor facilities including catering. The grant also covers the cost of appropriate PPE for our staff to enable safe working when the castle is open to visitors."

Rockingham Castle

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.”

Rockingham Castle's next event will be their Halloween Fun days this October from Tuesday 20 to Thursday 22, and Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 with booking essential.

The gardens and grounds will also be open on today and tomorrow (Tuesday October 13 and Wednesday October 14) with pre-booked slots starting at 10.30am or 1.30pm.

For futher information visit the Rockingham Castle website.

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