Funding fears cast shadow over museum anniversary

Chard Museum chairman Tony Prior (left) with invited guests at the opening of the 2010 season.

Chard Museum chairman Tony Prior (left) with invited guests at the opening of the 2010 season.

First published in News by

THE award-winning Chard Museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary... and volunteers are looking forward to another successful season.

But behind the celebrations there is uncertainty about the museum’s long-term future with funding becoming an everincreasing problem.

Only recently, South Somerset District Council agreed to award the museum a grant of £6,840 – despite the rent to the authority increasing to £10,000 per year – and on the proviso that Chard Town Council also makes a contribution.

Museum chairman Tony Prior said: “This will be our rent for the next five years, but the council will reduce our grant in stages to zero by 2014.

“The district council has awarded us £6,840, but this is subject to the town council making us a grant.”

Town councillors will be meeting later this month to discuss the possible grant it should award the museum.

Mr Prior said: “The museum’s trustees are well aware of the precarious situation we’re in, and will do all they can to keep the museum viable and open.

“Though there might be dark clouds on the horizon we’re delighted to now be open again for another season.

“We’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of the museum opening in Godworthy House in High Street.”

Brian Knight, an original trustee of the museum when it was launched in 1970, was given the task of officially declaring the 2010 season underway at a ceremony earlier this month.

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