As the deadline for the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund approaches, Cumbria Tourism is encouraging arts organisations to make the most of all of the available support.

Closing next Tuesday, January 26, the fund offers arts and cultural organisations up to £3 million to assist in the transition back to sustainable operation following the devastating disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gill Haigh, managing director at Cumbria Tourism, said: “The importance of the cultural sector upon Cumbria’s wider visitor economy is often overlooked.

“But it is a driving force for many when deciding where to book a future trip. From fabulous events such as the Winter Droving and Ulverston’s Printfest, to the world-class exhibitions at Tullie House, Maryport’s Senhouse Museum and more, cultural tourism attracts a wide range of visitors who stay in local accommodation, eat in local restaurants and enjoy local attractions, when the time is right.

“And let’s not forget the huge physical and mental health benefits – gardens, sculpture trails and other experiences are more important than ever as people look ahead to escaping their homes once lockdown eases.

“As tourism businesses prepare to welcome visitors back, it is vital the cultural sector receives the support it needs to restart.”

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Lakeland Arts, which manages sites including the Windermere Jetty Museum, Blackwell and Abbot Hall, has support from the Cultural Recovery Fund to adapt their sites for the 'new normal'.

Liz Moss, chief operating officer at Lakeland Arts, said: “The funding allowed us to develop online booking options at Windermere Jetty Museum as well as welcome visitors into more outdoor space.

“This includes our pre-bookable Wildcat Island Campfire Camps which offer families a Swallows and Amazons-style experience alongside the health and wellbeing benefits of being in green and blue space.

“For those unable to attend in person we extended our digital presence through online talks and digital bulletins such as Quarto, which gave readers behind the scenes stories about our collections and how we care for them.”

Other funding options are also available, both from Arts Council England and other sources.

Individual artists, museums and other organisations can apply to the National Lottery for assistance with individual cultural projects as well as potentially being eligible for the Local or Additional Restrictions Support Grants, administered by local authorities.