The local MP for Kingswood and Chair of the newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Museums has shown his support for independent heritage organisations with a recent visit to his local attraction based in Warmley, the Kingswood Heritage Museum.
The Museum remains open for business at this time, with visitors able to enjoy a variety of displays on the history of local industries and activities from around Kingswood and the surrounding areas, along with a growing archive of documents and photographs dating from the 18th century as well as more recent times.
Chris toured the facilities alongside Rodney Stone, Chair of the Museum Trustees, and Alan Bryant, Joint-Curator, and learned more about the Brass Mill site and the exhibits on the history of local manufacturing, as well as the more modern use of the building by community groups and local clubs.
The Museum had to close for some times due to the Coronavirus outbreak but reopened during the summer after benefitting from a £25,000 grant from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund, which was announced by the Government at the start of the pandemic in order to help support small businesses.
The grant was administered by South Gloucestershire Council and formed part of the Government’s response to the Coronavirus emergency, supporting businesses with a one-off cash grant to cover business costs during this particular time.
Further measures to support the tourism industry have included a £1.57 billion support package to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage. The support schemes announced by the Government in recent months have been welcomed by local businesses as well as cultural and heritage organisations who have benefitted from financial assistance during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Rodney Stone, Chair of the Museum Trustees, said: "We were very pleased to welcome Chris Skidmore to our Museum today. The Museum is a local history Museum run entirely by volunteers with many displays of the history of activities from Kingswood and the surrounding area, plus a large and growing archive.
It is also an important community facility and houses a wide range of community groups and activities for residents of all ages, ranging from a boxing gym to workshops for men and women. We are very grateful for Chris' help and support, and for the continuing support of our visitors and our local community."
Chris said: “It was as fantastic as ever to visit my local Museum recently and meet with the Chair Rodney to learn about the new exhibits and displays in place for this year and how they have implemented guidelines to keep the Museum Covid-secure.
I was delighted to hear about how the £25k government grant has helped the Museum weather the impact of Coronavirus, allowing it to continue to open its doors safely to local residents, maintaining its status as a cultural hub within the local community.
As Chair of the APPG on Museums I know how vital independent and regional museums are for local heritage protection and will continue to back efforts to support them”.
Kingswood Heritage Museum on Tower Lane, Warmley, is now open every Tuesday and Saturday from 11am to 5pm, and admission is free of charge.