Multi-million pound funding boost for Cumbria thanks to National Lottery players

Steam engine J21 number 65033 being serviced at Carlisle during the enthusiasts special of 7 May 1960 Credit: LCLT and SRC

The investment will see Carlisle Cathedral opened up and extended; a rare steam engine brought back into use at Kirkby Stephen East station; and huge improvements made to the water quality and habitats of Coniston Water and the River Crake in the Lakes.

Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West, said: “Whether it’s the stunning architecture of its cathedrals, beautiful rolling landscapes or steam trains roaring through the countryside, Cumbria has it all. And, as the Lake District nears UNESCO’s decision on its World Heritage Site bid this July, visitors and local communities alike are set to reap the rewards of National Lottery funding thanks to these three projects at some of the region’s most popular historic treasures.”

Bringing Untold Stories to Life for Everyone (Carlisle Cathedral) - £1,918,500 grant

Dating back to 1122, Carlisle Cathedral is one of the city’s oldest buildings. This exciting new project will restore and extend the Fratry at the heart of the Cathedral’s Grade I listed precinct and unlock a wealth of stories to bring to life its unique and turbulent history.

Used as a dining hall in the medieval period, the Fratry will once again become a hub for the community as it is transformed into a multi-purpose, accessible community and learning space with improved interpretation and new facilities including a café. Urgent repair works will also be carried out to support the conservation of this nationally important heritage site.

A full time Heritage and Learning Officer will oversee care and digitisation of the Cathedral’s historic 17th-century library, deliver a training programme for volunteers, and an activities and learning programme for schools and the local community.

The Cumbrian Victorian Locomotive Experience - £954,900 grant

Thanks to National Lottery players, Kirkby Stephen East (KSE) station - the main tourist attraction in the area and entirely run by volunteers - will be transformed. The project will return a Victorian locomotive (J21 number 65033 – built in 1889 and the last one remaining) to steam and create a new Heritage and Interpretation suite in an Edwardian railway stores van.

To be run by the Locomotive Conservation and Learning Trust (LCLT) and the Stainmore Railway Company (SRC), the new exhibits will explore 200 years of rail in Cumbria, with an action-packed programme of events on offer for families, schools, local Scout groups and volunteers. It is planned that J21 will be in steam for 21 days a year on special event days. Keep an eye on website for details.

Conserving Coniston & Crake: caring for water from mountain to shore - £763,300 grant

One of the Lake District’s most famous lakes, Coniston Water, is to become the focus of a new campaign to improve its water quality, habitats and biodiversity. The scheme, spearheaded by the South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT) and Coniston & Crake Catchment Partnership (CCCP) will preserve at-risk species such as Atlantic Salmon and European Eels, improve habitat in and around the watercourses of the Coniston and Crake Valley; restore Coniston Water’s reed beds; reduce unwanted nutrients; and control invasive species to protect natural habitats under threat.

SCRT will work closely with local communities to engage people in understanding the sensitive local ecology of the area, through a new programme training volunteers in habitat management and conservation; a schools learning programmes; artist-led activities; oral history and photography; public talks; and the development of a project website and use of social media.

Initial funding of £174,500 has also been awarded to the University of Cumbria for its South Cumbria Species Restoration Project, which is now in development to improve the Morcambe Bay environment.

HLF has supported 635 projects to date in Cumbria totalling just under £115m investment into the area since 1994. To support the Lake District’s World Heritage status bid, due to be announced 31 July, visit the Bid website.

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