A LEADING official from Oswestry Town Museum has described the grant of £11,600 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen as a 'lifeline'.

Nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, announced on Friday.

Mark Hignett, from the museum, admitted the funding is much-needed as they begin to prepare to reopen from next month.

He added: "Oswestry Town Museum is a volunteer-led museum dedicated to preserving the heritage and history of Oswestry and the surrounding area, this award is crucial to our plans to reopen to the public in May for what is our 10th year.

"Grants like this are the very lifeline for organisations such as ours and will allow us to reopen our doors with new displays and a Covid-safe environment."

Meanwhile, the Tanat Valley Light Railway in Nant Mawr near Oswestry has received a grant of £5,800 from the fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.

Mark added: "This is a volunteer-led charity dedicated to preserving the last remaining section of the ‘Old Potts’ railway line that once ran from Shrewsbury to Nant Mawr.

"This award is vital to our plans to reopen to the public later this year and will allow us to catch up on a missed year of vegetation and line maintenance as well as putting on a special event to publicise our return to being open for the public."

More than £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The second round of awards made on Friday will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.

"Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."