Arts and heritage sector receives funding boost from National Park

Colourful Building Museum Eastbourne
Co-winner of Museum of the Year 2020

New nature trails, a community exhibition and a scheme to support wellbeing for service personnel are among the initiatives to receive a boost from the National Park Authority’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

Earlier this year the National Park set up a Recovery Fund of £375,000 to help support partner organisations and local communities in the wake of the impact of the pandemic.

The Authority is pleased to announce the first tranche of successful projects – all of which help to conserve and enhance the cultural heritage of the National Park and surrounding areas and create opportunities for people to enjoy arts, landscape and history.

The National Park awarded grants totalling £81,272.59 to 12 individual organisations that applied for funding:

  • Amberley Museum

For the reinstatement of nature trails, new interpretation and an improved outdoor learning space. The activities will support a revived visitor offer around nature engagement, and a COVID-19 safe space for visiting schools.

  • Arundel Museum

Development of a community digital archive focused on the South Downs as a theme, and exploring people’s relationship to landscape in the context of COVID-19.

  • Butser Ancient Farm, near Waterlooville

Support for a partnership with Operation Nightingale, an initiative which assists the recovery of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans by getting them involved in archaeological investigations. The fund has additionally supported Butser Ancient Farm with developing a digital offer, so more people can access its activities and events online.

  • Chawton House and Gardens

Activities and equipment to improve the outdoor visitor experience, including a takeaway refreshment service and new heritage-themed walks in the gardens and local area. 

The funding will additionally support initiatives to create a winter offer for visitors.

  • Gilbert White’s House and Gardens, Selbourne

Activities and equipment to support an enhanced outdoor visitor offer with a particular focus on nature (plants, birds and insect species), linking the visitor experience to White’s own experiences and observations of landscape.

  • Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

A contribution towards production of a film exploring the work of contemporary printmakers inspired by the work of Gilbert White. The film will support increasing visitor engagement with their exhibition on the life and work of Gilbert White. The exhibition closed days into its opening due to COVID-19.

  • Petworth Vision

Development of a virtual visitor experience for a collective of heritage organisations and churches in Petworth. The digital experience will showcase the heritage of Petworth while also helping them to build resources to promote future Heritage Open Days.

  • The Novium, Chichester

Support for a community exhibition on the history of Chichester’s Cattlemarket, and  its links to the Downs. The project will also explore contemporary awareness of farming, supply chains, and transient workers, and the impacts of COVID-19 on people’s perceptions of food supply and local producers

The fund additionally supported The Novium with developing an online retail offer, to maximise income generation.

  • The Towner Gallery, Eastbourne

Support to distribute art supplies through local food banks, focusing on connecting people with nature through creativity and working with Eastbourne Food Bank, Community Stuff, NetworX Eastbourne and the Enthum Foundation.  The funding will also support activities in outside space at community centres and children’s centres to explore creating artwork using natural materials.

  • University of Chichester

Support for a pilot project using creative writing to engage new visitors to the National Park. The project has a strong grounding in research and will use creative writing to understand how COVID-19 has changed people’s relationship with landscape.

  • Take Shelter, Brighton

Funding to support the creation of digital resources to take their offer online, including a monetised platform for ‘Pay as You Feel’ donations. The digital assets will connect the story of Take Shelter to the South Downs during the Second World War.

  • Charleston Trust, near Lewes

Support for business and innovation events for the organisation and support new fundraising strategies.

Anooshka Rawden, Cultural Heritage Lead for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “This year has been exceptionally hard for arts and heritage organisations right across the region, but it’s been inspiring to also see the flexibility, innovation and sheer determination shown by so many people in the sector amid such unprecedented challenges.

“Our Recovery Fund is all about giving organisations and partners a helping hand as they adapt to a ‘new normal’ and look to adapt their business operation while also developing new ways of connecting people with the landscape and amazing heritage in our area. We also recognise that communities are changing due to the psychological and economic impacts of COVID-19, and we need to understand those impacts to better serve communities as we explore what ‘recovery’ looks like.

“We’re pleased to announce these funding awards and look forward to seeing these inspiring projects come to fruition.”

Further projects in other areas, such as wildlife, tourism and sustainable access, that receive funding from the Recovery Fund will be announced later this year and into 2021.