Forestry England’s Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

445 organisations will share £103 million, including Westonbirt Arboretum, to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

The arboretum will receive £195,500 to help it recover from the financial impact of COVID-19 and improve the resilience of this important heritage site as they continue to work through the challenges presented by the pandemic.

As with many other visitor attractions, the arboretum was closed for over two-months earlier in the year and had to cancel many of its large-scale events, including the Forest Live concert series.

The money will help cover some essential additional Covid-19 costs, will allow the arboretum to review and improve it’s sustainability strategy and develop plans to boost the resilience of the arboretum and achieve their mission ‘to connect people with trees to improve the quality of life.’

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery.

12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”

Andrew Smith, Forestry England Director of Westonbirt Arboretum, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has hammered home the importance of green, natural spaces, like Westonbirt Arboretum, particularly in times of uncertainty and crisis.

"Recent research has shown that spending time amongst nature has a positive impact not only on our physical health, but also on our mental health and well-being; therefore it is more important now than ever before that people are able to spend time in the natural world.

"This grant will allow us to continue our vital work in education, participation and conservation, and connect people with trees and nature.”

Information on how to book tickets, along with more information on how the visitors can help to everybody safe during their visit, can be found here