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Nene Valley Railway receives grant from Culture Recovery Fund

A railway attraction is set to receive a grant which will help it 'emerge into the daylight' after a year of darkness.

Nene Valley Railway is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The Wansford-based railway operates as a charity with the facilities and locomotives maintained by volunteers, and with Covid-19 lockdown forcing it to close for a number of months it has faced financial pressure.

Nene Valley Railway Thomas. Photo: Stan Bell
Nene Valley Railway Thomas. Photo: Stan Bell

The £479,765 grant will enable Nene Valley Railway to replenish its reserves and sustain the railway from now until June.

Kim Shaw, Acting General Manager, said: "Hearing the news that Nene Valley Railway has been awarded grant funding from the Arts Council, England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is just amazing news and helps give us the confidence to look forward to 2021 with renewed enthusiasm.

"The railway is a valuable, historic venue for both volunteers and customers alike.

Peterborough Nene Valley Railway Station. Photo: Stan Bell
Peterborough Nene Valley Railway Station. Photo: Stan Bell

"Our railway provides a fantastic range of roles attracting volunteers of all ages both near and far who together enable us to continue to offer those volunteering roles, preserving and restoring our heritage site which allows us to run trains and events, sharing our passion with visitors and supporters both near and far.

"To know that we can continue to do this after a difficult year, keeping the passion and love for our railway alive is an amazing feeling and we are proud to have been chosen for this award.

“Nene Valley Railway cannot express its thanks enough to Arts Council England and the DCMS Recovery Fund.”

More than £800m 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.

Steam and diesel at Nene Valley Railway. Photo: Stan Bell
Steam and diesel at Nene Valley Railway. Photo: Stan Bell

The second round of awards made today (April 2) will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer, plan for reopening and recovery, and provide a helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Mike Kerfoot, chairman Nene Valley Railway, said: "Nothing could have prepared us for the year we have just experienced, and the challenges that many of us have faced on many levels have been unimaginable.

"On the Nene Valley Railway we had a season of exciting events to look forward to in 2020.

Wansford signalbox. Photo: Stan Bell
Wansford signalbox. Photo: Stan Bell

"Just as we began to move into the spring we had to rip up our plans, hunker down and prepare to weather the storm.

"On our railway we have the longest tunnel on any preserved railway and it has provided a metaphor for our year. We’ve been focused on the

light at the end of that tunnel, distant though it has sometimes been.

"Throughout, our team of paid staff and volunteers have kept our railway alive but it always promised to be a long haul out of the darkness and into the sunlight.

"The Arts Council England Culture Recovery Grant is a step change for us, and we are very thankful for the award. Emerging into the daylight we can face the challenges ahead with renewed confidence.

"Critically we can move much faster to resume our operations and welcome back our staff, our volunteers and our visitors.

"We have every reason to be excited and energised about the year ahead and we can once again celebrate the railway we love, and that brings so much joy to so many."

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