The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust has received funds from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to make changes within its historic bell museum to ensure it is COVID-19 compliant for visitors.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown began, the museum – which is the only museum of its kind in the country – has been closed to visitors and group tours of the bellfoundry buildings also ceased.
These funds will enable the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust to progress with works that will enable the museum to open again to the public.
The museum showcases almost 160 years of bells and bellfounding and has a significant collection of archive materials from the bellfoundry’s lifespan. It is housed within the historic Grade II* listed Loughborough Bellfoundry buildings, which are an important part of Britain’s industrial heritage.
Hannah Taylor, Chairman of Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players, we can now prepare the museum for opening in a post COVID-19 world and welcome visitors once again.
“The Loughborough Bellfoundry itself was built in 1859, and since then, it has cast more than 25,000 bells which can be heard all over the world. Our much-loved onsite museum takes visitors on a journey of discovery of bells and bellfounding and is the only archive of its kind in the country which is enjoyed by all ages.
“It is incredibly important that we are able to continue to welcome visitors to the museum and educate and excite people on the history of bells and the art of bellfounding, which is an endangered craft.
“We’re grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”
The funding was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.
The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust during this uncertain time.”
To find out more about how The National Heritage Emergency Fund is supporting the sector at this time please visit: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/responding-coronavirus-covid-19
To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes, visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response