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New deal with town council will help Wisbech museum stay afloat

FDC and Town Council will each have member on museum board

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Cash strapped Wisbech and Fenland Museum breathed a sigh of release after Wisbech Town Council agreed a revised funding package. The museum, which has received £20,000 each year since 2017 from the town council, has agreed a deal which will come into force next April.

Under the arrangement the town council will still support the museum but the £20,000 grant will reduce to £17,500, and there will be a further reduction of £2,500 each year from then down to zero.

Steve McGregor, chairman of the museum, said: “I am pleased that since the museum sought external expert advice, consulted the Charity Commission and considered funding arrangements of comparable museums, agreement has been reached with the town council on the funding options it had offered towards the museum’s running costs going forward.”

Wisbech and Fenland Museum with a flavour of some of the events staged there. Photo: Wisbech Museum and Wisbech Tweet

Wisbech and Fenland Museum with a flavour of some of the events staged there. Photo: Wisbech Museum and Wisbech Tweet

The town council will continue to have one representative on the board of the museum in addition to one appointed representative from Fenland District Council.

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But Mr McGregor said the museum “retains its independence.

“These are very difficult times for heritage organisations, particularly museums, but we are determined to continue to provide a stimulating and interesting experience for the thousands who visit us each year, in particular the families and schools.

“We know we hold important and unique collections for the people of Wisbech and locality to enjoy, and we also appreciate that we need to redouble our efforts to raise enough money each year to keep the museum operating at its present level, and that’s a major task.”

Wisbech & Fenland Museum is the custodian of Charles Dickens' original manuscript of Great Expectations (shown here). It was bequeathed to them in 1868 by the Rev Chauncy Hare Townshend.

Wisbech & Fenland Museum is the custodian of Charles Dickens’ original manuscript of Great Expectations (shown here). It was bequeathed to them in 1868 by the Rev Chauncy Hare Townshend.

He added: “Given the popularity of events and exhibitions put on in 2023 we’ve made an encouraging start.

 

“I take this opportunity to pay tribute to our talented staff and invaluable volunteers and thank my colleagues on the board for their continuing support.”

 

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