£270k grant for museum

Terry Fraser

Terry Fraser

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by

The future of one of Oxfordshire’s most popular museums is looking more secure after it was awarded a £270,000 grant.

But the trustees of the Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage have warned they still need more financial support.

The grant from Vale of White Horse District Council will help pay for a £500,000 project for a new two-storey extension including an archive block, kitchen, office and workshop.

The 17th century museum was under threat after costs, initially estimated at £350,000, spiralled leaving the trustees without enough cash to pay builders already working on the Church Street museum.

Chairman of trustees Terry Fraser said: “It is good news.

“It saves us for now and gives us a breathing space.

“But we do still need grants for the future.

“I am glad we have come to some sort of settlement.

“But it’s not the end of it, we have some more to go yet.”

The council had agreed to a loan of up to £100,000 to help the museum pay for the building work but instead came back with a one-off grant offer.

Council leader Matthew Barber said: “The council is keen to invest in the vitality of our towns’ economies and we believe that this one-off grant has the potential to put the museum on a firm footing for the future.”

The museum costs about £150,000 each year to run – or £120,000 “at a push”, according to Mr Fraser.

Trustees are now in the process of applying for other grants.

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