AN HISTORIC mill which has been closed for almost three years has now received the funding it needs for restoration.

Cultura Trust has received £159,000 to support its significant cultural heritage sites and collections, including the Grade II*-listed 18th Century watermill Gayle Mill, near Hawes.

The funding will enable essential work for future public access and by developing new digital resources for online learning. It will also help boost the Trust’s capacity with opportunities for employment to deliver the project

It has also allowed the trust to appoint Richmondshire county councillor Stuart Parsons to prepare the mill for reopening.

Cultura Trust is one of 445 organisations sharing £103 million to help them through the coronavirus pandemic, to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

Graham Bell, Director of Cultura Trust, said: “We are very pleased to have been selected to receive this valuable support and, as part of our commitment to Gayle Mill, to be able to announce that the funding has enabled us to appoint Stuart Parsons to help us prepare the mill for Covid-safe reopening in 2021.

"Stuart is well known in the dales as a former mayor of Richmondshire District Council and for his many personal community responsibilities.”

Cllr Parsons said: “The mill represents over 200 years of British industrial innovation. I’m thrilled to become part of its story, especially during these difficult times. For me, it is the people in the story which brings it to life.”

Jill McMullon, chair of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council and Richmondshire District Councillor, said: “Gayle Mill is very much a part of our local history and it will be amazing to have it restored back to a working mill. In such difficult times it’s lovely to have such good news and we look forward to see its progress and eventual completion.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said: “It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”

In addition to employing Stuart Parsons, the package of funding for Cultura will help Gayle Mill with setting up a photogrammetry community project to produce a digital model of the mill and digitise some of the collection, make preparations for Covid-safe public access, produce new visitor information and support volunteers.