Westonbirt Arboretum has received a lifeline grant worth £195,500 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

The arboretum is one of 445 organisations across the country that will share £103 million to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

Westonbirt Arboretum will receive the grant to help it recover from the financial impact of Covid-19 and improve the resilience of the 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.’

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.”

Founded almost 200 years ago by the Victorian landowner Robert Holford, the arboretum is today one of the most beautiful and botanically diverse tree gardens in the world, home to over 2500 tree species and 15,000 specimen trees, all laid out within a stunning Grade 1 listed landscape.

Though the arboretum is now reopen to the public, access is by advanced booking only.

For more information, visit www.forestryengland.uk/westonbirt