West Lancashire Light Railway Trust get huge £19k boost

West Lancashire Light Railway Trust get huge £19k boost

by Tom Martin (April 2021)

The West Lancashire Light Railway Trust at Hesketh Bank has received a grant of £18,900 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen. 

Nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including the West Lancashire Light Railway in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

The West Lancashire Light Railway Trust is a charitable Trust that operates a short  2ft gauge steam railway in the heart of Hesketh Bank village.

Run entirely by volunteers, the  railway has operated for over 50 years. The last year has impacted our railway hard, with very little income to cover the basic overheads.

It has also affected the wellbeing of the volunteers and visitors, the Railway being an important social meeting point.

This popular attraction normally operates from April to November every Sunday and Bank Holiday, with a collection of historic steam locomotives, all over 100 years old.

The railway has a proud record of high quality restoration and preservation of a collection of  historic locomotives, completed by our members in Hesketh Bank.

Although the railway is still closed to the public, they hope to reopen soon, welcoming back visitors old and new.  New volunteers are also very welcome.

Mike Spall – West Lancashire Light Railway Trust Chair said: “This funding means a great deal to our Railway Trust. 2020 was a very difficult year for us with nearly all our scheduled operating days cancelled due to the Covid-19 emergency. Like many heritage operations, our income, used to keep us operating, was lost overnight. This funding will ensure that we can reopen and welcome back our many visitors and friends. It will also allow our wonderful volunteers to return to the railway, maintaining friendships and wellbeing, and provide something positive for our community. Our sincere thanks to the Cultural Recovery Fund for this well-timed funding.

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal wellbeing.”

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