AN ART and craft gallery announced they are to become a free entry visitor attraction.
Farfield Mill at Sedbergh said they had made the change to “make visiting our exhibitions, craft gallery, heritage display, shop, and tearoom as accessible as possible for our local communities.”
The gallery had trialled the idea of free entry when it first re-opened in July, with the move aiming to encourage repeat visits from local communities and encourage engagement with the arts.
They also announced they were being supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, a £1.57bn scheme to help Britain’s heritage and cultural sites during the pandemic.
Farfield Mill’s manager Jo Mowbray said the grant would enable the organisation to improve their current facilities and give them ‘financial resilience’ during the uncertain months ahead.
“This grant will help us; improve and enhance the outdoor seating area for the tea room, purchase screens and partitions for educational workshops, fit an automatic entrance door, and help to cover some fixed costs (such as building insurance),” she said.
“The grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will give Farfield Mill financial resilience to deal with these uncertain times and we are already planning for 2021 and beyond.”
After taking a huge hit during lockdown, with the Community Benefit Society missing out on its busiest months of April, May and June, the mill has now restarted its art workshops and has seen visitors returning in their droves to view the gallery’s exhibitions and buy its hand crafted offerings.
“We have all worked together to make the Mill Covid safe and we are fortunate that we have such a spacious building which makes social distancing much easier,” said Clare Huggonson, Farfield Mills’ marketing officer.
“Visitors are returning, buying their handcrafted gifts for Christmas and workshops have restarted.”