The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is celebrating news of ‘lifeline’ grant for the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The museum will receive £58,000 from the fund, designed to help secure the future of culture venues up and down the United Kingdom.

It closed in March in line with government guidelines so a grand re-opening following the refurbishment and new wing extension was put on hold.

The museum was able to re-open safely in August, with an advanced booking system in place to manage visitor numbers and ensure social distancing can be maintained.

Museum curator Alison Mills said: “This funding is excellent news for the museum and all the staff and volunteers.

“It will help to make up for the income we have lost this year to date, and enable us to get fully up and running.

“Although the pandemic continues to affect all our lives we hope to extend our opening hours soon by recruiting some temporary staff.

“We will also be investing in digital services, so people can enjoy our exhibitions and learn about our collections virtually.”

Other venues to benefit from the Culture Recovery Fund included the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple and the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe, which are now set to reopen in December after receiving £553,086.

North Devon Council leader, Councillor David Worden said: “I am delighted that the cultural heart of North Devon is being supported by this much needed lifeline.

“Our museum and theatres are very important to our community. We are lucky to have such fantastic facilities here and we must support them as much as we can during these difficult times.”

The museum is open from 11am to 3pm Wednesday to Friday, and visitors can book a timed arrival slot on the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon website.