Back in November last year in a change to my usual posts I wrote about the cuts Lancashire County Council were making to their Cultural Services budget. As part of these cuts five museums in Burnley, Rossendale, Lancaster, Preston and Fleetwood were to completely lose their funding and close at the end of March unless alternative finding was found. Sadly the severe cuts went ahead despite much campaigning, but just over a week ago it was announced that the museums have been given a temporary reprieve until September.
This stay of execution will allow time for discussions to take place between the Council and interested parties, and for other potential funding streams to come forward, which is of course very welcome but it won’t guarantee the museums stay open beyond the September deadline.
I’m still disappointed with Lancashire County Council’s shortsighted decision to drastically pull their support from these important pieces of Lancashire’s heritage, meanwhile the Thames Garden Bridge is given the go ahead by Westminster (austerity seems to have bypassed our capital city), but I very much have my fingers crossed that there is enough interest and enthusiasm from outside sources that rescue plans can be found. We recently visited Helmshore Textile Museum and Queen Street Mill – two of the at-risk museums – and enthusiasm and love for these two brilliant museums was very much evident. It made me very emotional to think that soon these places may just be a distant memory and another part of our cultural heritage cast aside.
I really urge people to visit these museums over the summer and demonstrate to the LCC just how much they are valued. Take your children to step back in time and get hands on before their only opportunity to learn about their heritage is resigned to the textbooks.
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