STUNNED staff at the National Motorcycle Museum have reacted with shock at the news the group has had its application for a Culture Recovery Fund grant rejected.
“It’s utterly catastrophic,” said museum director James Hewing.
The complex, which includes a conference centre and two hotels as well as the museum, has been left devastated by a lost year caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are a globally recognised organisation with a global reach. People come from all over the world to visit this museum and see British motorcycles,” said James.
“We had applied for funding in the under £1million category to help retain our expert team of people, as well as preserving the museum collection of British motorcycles as the largest in the world.
“These are some of the things that have now been put in jeopardy.”
Pre-Covid the museum had employed 500 people across all its sites.
“The man who started this place, Roy Richards, used to say never start a museum because you’ll never make any money,” said James.
“So you have to look at this thing as a whole – our hospitality business just isn’t happening, the conferences, the hotels.
“Then we just received an e-mail from the Heritage Lottery Fund, who are partly responsible for administering the grant scheme, saying that our application ‘did not meet the criteria for the programme, and the board has decided not to award a grant through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage’.
“You can’t just flick a switch and get everything back up and running once all this is over, some sectors could take two years to recover.”
Since July the museum has been running its own Covid-19 raffle with the chance to win a classic British motorcycle as the top prize.
All funds raised will go directly towards reopening the museum in early in 2021.
The aim is to raise £500,000 but James admitted they were a long way short of their target.
To help support the museum, visit https://www.nationalmotorcyclemuseum.co.uk/appeal-raffle/