Tullie House has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a £1.57bn investment in the UK cultural sector which includes museums. In Cumbria, both the Local Enterprise Partnership and Cumbria Tourism have been raising the funding need with the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport throughout the crisis.

Andrew Mackay, Director of Tullie House: “The sector has been very vocal about the need for financial support for many weeks and so it is both helpful and reassuring that the Government has understood the crisis that our cultural venues are facing and are now trying to put in place measures to help. We are very grateful to the Cumbria LEP and Cumbria Tourism for their support in conveying this message.”

Andrew Mackay has also been raising the issue nationally with the English Civic Museums Network, the National Museum Directors Council, Arts Council England and a new group of northern cultural leaders.

Andrew Mackay adds “Although this is indeed great news, we do not know the detail of the proposed funding, who will be eligible or what the terms of any financial support may be. The government’s announcement makes it clear that there will be grants and loans. Loans are not the solution for the majority of cultural organisations as they simply add to the debt burden.”

Whilst the £1.57bn fund appears large, the funding pledge encompasses the whole cultural sector across the country. This includes West End theatres and London based national museums, plus arts and music venues across the UK.

Timing of the financial assistance is also a critical issue. Whilst some venues need immediate financial support, others like Tullie House have noted that they will need support beyond 2020/21.

Like many cultural organisations, Tullie House is a charity. They rely on admissions income and the ongoing support of visitors and tourists. Emphasising this point, Tullie House is having to open in phases, starting with the café and gardens this Wednesday 8 July. The phased opening is set to gauge the public appetite for a return to the cultural sector alongside the need to assess the financial feasibility of fully reopening.

Andrew Mackay concludes: “We are optimistic that Government support will be a huge help. However, we can only survive in the long term if people use us. To become sustainable, we need more visitors than ever before. We would like to thank Carlisle City Council and Arts Council England for their continued and sustained support throughout this difficult period. Their contribution covers many of the museum’s core costs and we would not be able to reopen at all without their wholehearted commitment, but we still require donations, income from admission and business sponsors to help fund other aspects of our offer such as our exhibitions, our community programme, the care of collections and the upkeep of our gardens.”

Tullie House reopens its gardens and café on Wednesday 8 July at 10