Museums service wins £46,000 grant

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Canterbury City Council’s museums and galleries service has secured a £46,000 grant from the prestigious Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund for a project working with volunteers who suffer from debilitating anxiety.

The grant, one of only five to be awarded in the whole country, will fund a project in which the group will work with an art expert on a review of the council’s stored art collection. It is part of the council’s award-winning health and wellbeing work in the community.

The aim is to aid the volunteers’ mental health and help them develop team skills and experience, while also making the collection more relevant and accessible to visitors.

The review will cover a variety of objects in the stored art collection including oils, watercolours, etchings, drawings and prints, the majority of which have been in storage for many years but are earmarked for possible future display.

Chairman of the council’s Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “Access to museums is something that should be available to everybody, but for people with extreme anxiety, even stepping into a public building can be a major challenge.

“We hope to be able to make a difference to the lives of everyone who takes part in this scheme in the months ahead.”

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, run by the Museums Association, funds projects which develop collections to achieve social impact. The other four successful applicants this time are Manchester Art Gallery, Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, The Whithorn Trust and Wisbech and Fenland Museum.

The Museums Association’s Collections Development Officer, Sarah Briggs, said: “This round of funding shows the diverse array of collections that can benefit from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and how collections work can be positive for the communities in which museums operate.”