A ‘LIFESAVING’ grant from the government’s £1.57b culture recovery fund has been handed to a local heritage site.

Worsbrough Mill and Country Park, operated by Barnsley Council, is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country to set to receive a share of £103m from the government to help it through the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of £160,000 has been awarded to the park in a bid to ensure the heritage site is able to remain open and successful in the coming years.

The funding will be used to create a new visitor gallery and shop which will adhere to social distancing measures, a new hub housed in a currently derelict space for the mill’s volunteers to use, and the extension of the on-site cafe to enable more users to sit inside whilst sticking to coronavirus restrictions.

Important checks of the mill’s machinery - which has produced more than 25 tonnes of flour for local communities and small businesses across the north through lockdown - will also be made thanks to the new funding.

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John Tanner, project manager at Barnsley Museums, had a key role in ensuring the grant came to Worsbrough, and he feels that the future is very exciting for the area.

He told the Chronicle: “We worked together at Barnsley Museums to get the grant and it’s going to make a real massive difference in the future.

“Worsbrough Mill and Country Park has become so important for a number of people not only in Barnsley, but across the north of England too - it really has been phenomenal.

“The £160,000 grant will be used to keep the park running with social distancing measures in place.

“A part of the new funding will go to a much bigger shop to sell Worsbrough Mill flour, and there’s going to be a new gallery which is really exciting for us.”

John, who has been working with Barnsley Museums for 12 years, is hopeful that the work will be started by the new year, and subsequently finished by Easter.

“The grant is really important because it helps us get what we need to ensure that during challenging times we can do what we can,” he added.

“We’re expecting that work will start in the new year and then be completed by next Easter - the new shop, cafe and gallery will also be completed alongside a brand new volunteers hub.

“The volunteering work has been so great, they even received a national award for their work which shows how important they are.”

Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for place, added: “We are extremely proud of the cultural offer in our borough and it has been vital during the pandemic to support the wellbeing of residents and visitors.

“Financial support during this difficult time is critical and we are delighted that we have been successful in securing funding from the cultural recovery fund to invest in Worsbrough Mill and Country Park.

“The changes will have positive impacts on visitors and the local community for years to come.”