Custodians of historic wartime airfield get £26,000 grant ahead of re-opening to visitors this summer

A second visitor attraction in the Sleaford area has benefited from a major boost in funding to re-emerge from the pandemic restrictions.

The Dakota at Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre. EMN-210604-120104001

Last week it was announced that the National Centre for Craft and Design was to get £57,000 from the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund ready for when it re-opens from refurbishment with a wider arts offer to the area.

It has also been revealed that the museum based on the remnants of the historic wartime airfield of RAF Metheringham has also been given a grant of over £26,000 to help with re-opening this summer in line with the easing of restrictions.

Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre is planning to open its doors to the public on Saturday June 26, following government guidelines.

Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre. EMN-210604-120029001

There may need to be a ticket booking system but details will be shown on the website.

The airfield visitor centre is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund and will receive £26,202.00 to help the organisation recover and reopen.

Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre preserves and conserves the buildings and collections forming part of the former RAF Metheringham Airfield, which operated from 1943 to 1946.

The team running the centre aim to inspire everyone with the story of Metheringham Airfield remembering and keeping alive the stories of 106 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, No. 5 Group Bomber Command, The Royal Air Force, RAF Metheringham, US 52nd Troop Carrier Wing, the people who shaped it and its place in our lives.

Melissa Maynard, Trustee, said: “We are excited to receive this support from the Cultural Recovery Fund as this will help us to safely welcome visitors back to Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre when it is safe to do so. This funding will help to share RAF Metheringham’s story and those of the men and women who served here through new digital engagement and on site.”

Over £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 last week will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking 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.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.

“We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

The funding awarded is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.