Lundy Island has received a lifeline after being awarded half a million pounds in Government funding.
It was announced today (Friday, October 9) that the island, which is managed by the Landmark Trust, has been awarded the money from the Culture Recovery Fund.
There were also grants of £79,300 for Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, £28,800 for Hele Corn Mill, £20, 273 for Chittlehampton Methodist Church and £11,900 for Huntshaw Church.
In August, Lundy launched an urgent appeal to raise money to try and ensure it could survive beyond 2020, after the coronavirus pandemic hit visitor numbers hard and saw the island’s income plummet.
Lundy general manager Derek Green said everyone connected with the island was delighted by the news, which would save jobs and ensure Lundy stayed open.
He said: “We were not sure whether we would qualify or get anything at all, but we have been working hard to try and ensure that Lundy remains open.
“This grant will help protect all the jobs on the island and on the Oldenburg and those that work for us on the mainland.
“It will keep the island open and accessible to all our visitors in a safe manner as well, and some of the money will help make the Oldenburg Covid-secure, as well as in the Marisco Tavern and the Lundy General Stores.”
Mr Green said of course the island already had Covid measures in place.
The drop in income over the summer was due to the need to restrict the Oldenburg to 90 passengers when its normal capacity was 267, meaning the island lost out on huge numbers of daytrippers.
Mr Green said as well as Lundy jobs, the grant money would help to support in part more than 200 local suppliers who relied on the island as part of their business.
He said it would also enable their work of education and conservation to continue on the island and the mainland.
In normal times Lundy welcomes some 25 classes of primary school children each year, while this winter there will be more reliance on sending Lundy ambassadors out to local schools to speak instead, which will also be supported by the grant.
The island’s season ends later this month but it will continue to remain open for those who wish to book accommodation and use the Lundy winter helicopter service to travel there.
The Gazette will bring you more articles about the other recipients of the Culture Recovery Fund in the coming days.