The Garfield Weston Foundation established the Weston Culture Fund to support the UK’s cultural sector. Through the Weston Culture Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation has granted over £30 million to more than 100 organisations across the UK.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Weston Culture Fund said, ‘Our cultural sector is at the heart of our local communities providing not only entertainment but education and inspiration for many. Our Trustees were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit shown across the arts in response to Covid-19 and it was a privilege to hear what organisations had been doing to not only survive but also to reinvent the way they reach audiences. What really stood out was the level of collaboration and support they had for each other and the determination to keep going, despite the increasingly difficult situation.’

Simon Sherrard, Chairman of National Maritime Museum Cornwall said, ‘We are delighted to receive this timely and generous support from the Garfield Weston family. This award gives us a wonderful opportunity to create a first class digital programme which will enable us to extend our reach and demonstrate the veracity of the ‘National’ in our name.’

Part of the funding received by the Museum will support the upgrade of the digital infrastructure in our Lecture Theatre to enable the broadcasting of a new Lecture Series this autumn. The Lecture Series will feature a number of talks by leading academics and subject specialists. We also hope to welcome audiences back to the building too, depending on the level of restrictions at the time (more details on the Lecture Series to come soon!).

In addition, the funding will help with the creation of a new digital learning space – a creative space where the Museum’s Learning team can deliver live to schools in Cornwall, and across the country. It also allows for the development of a unique living history programme, called Cornish Voices to be reimagined for a digital space. Through dramatic performance, Cornish Voices brings to life the Cornish people’s special relationship with the sea and, in doing so, tells the story of the people behind real objects in the Museum.

Stuart Slade, Head of Public programmes said, ‘Delivering our learning and outreach programme since the start of the pandemic has been impossible and our current digital infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose. This funding is vital for us to continue our award-winning work throughout the pandemic, but it will also help us meet the challenges in a post-Covid world’.

Whilst the funding means the Museum can restart its learning programmes, it is also an opportunity to broaden its reach into new communities.

Stuart continued, ‘The new digital programme means we can overcome some of the additional barriers that people face when wanting to attend our programming such as disability, transport or location. It means more and more people can take part in our work and that’s very exciting for us’.