Additional funding awarded for The Whitaker

Published March 2, 2021 at 14:00

The Whitaker and Rossendale Borough Council have announced a 12-month extension to the redevelopment project at the museum and art gallery in Rawtenstall. The impact of Covid-19 delayed some parts of the project but thanks to an additional grant of £250k from National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Capital Kickstarter funding, work will be able to carry on. 

Thadditional funding for the project delivered in partnership between Rossendale Borough Council and The Whitaker will increase the project value to just under £2.2m and follows the recent news of the merger of the Whitaker Museum with the Rossendale Leisure Trust. 

Alyson Barnes Council Leader said: “This is great news not just for The Whitaker but for Rossendale as a whole and it’s about time we had some good news. 

“The Whitaker is a fantastic asset for Rossendale and the improvements will be hugely beneficial not just for the residents of Rossendale but also the visitors it attracts from outside the area. 

“As some form of Covid restrictions are likely to be with us for some time yet it’s also important that Covid safe environments are factored into these improvements, so that when it is safe to do so we can confidently start to use public buildings and museums again.” 

The scheme involves converting the former barn and stables, linking it to the existing museum, doubling its size, creating a new café, events space, refurbishing the museum galleries and creating new public facilities. The council are providing matched funding to the overall scheme of £189,950. 

Darren O’ Toole from the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “Thanks to National Lottery playerswho have made this exciting scheme possible, we are delighted to be able to support the request for additional time and funding”. 

The new funds will support the extension of the current capital works, including a new family friendly Explore Gallery for under 5s, a complete renovation of the existing museum toilets, and ensuring that the museum is a Covid safe space. The revised completion date for the build is expected to be mid-April 2021. 

Carl Bell Managing Director at The Whitaker said: “It’s really important that after all the hard work and planning up to 2021 that we are able to really offer an outstanding Heritage, Arts and Cultural experience for Rossendale. Once again it’s thanks to the national lottery players we are able to realise this dream.” 

The funds will also enable the extension of roles funded by the project which leads on activities, volunteering and community engagement. This will ensure that post opening of the new museum, expected Summer 2021 an active public engagement programme can be delivered, something which has been severely impacted during the pandemic. 


#HereForCulture is a movement that unites the public, government and cultural organisations in support of our fantastic cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage.

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