West Midlands libraries and museums get £4m funding boost

The Coffin Works Museum in Birmingham

The West Midlands Cultural Investment Fund has allocated funding to various museums and library services throughout the region.

£4m will be distributed to establishments such as The Coffin Works Museum in Birmingham, the Almonry Museum in Evesham, and several public libraries in Walsall.

The Almonry Museum in Evesham is slated to receive £2.2m, earmarked for essential upgrades including repairs to roofs, chimneys, windows, and timber frames.

Additionally, funds will be allocated towards electrical enhancements for alarms and security systems, new lighting installations, and the replacement of garden path surfaces to enhance accessibility.

Meanwhile, Birmingham’s The Coffin Works museum has been granted £100,000 to address urgent maintenance and repair needs, aiming to improve environmental sustainability but also ensure the safety of its collection and improve conditions for staff, volunteers, and visitors.

In a bid to support individuals with dementia and their caregivers, Walsall Libraries will benefit from a £180,000 investment to procure specialised equipment.

Furthermore, various library services across the region will receive support under this funding scheme, including Shropshire Libraries, Worcestershire County Council, Staffordshire County Council, Sandwell Library and Information Service, Telford and Wrekin Council, Herefordshire Libraries, Dudley Libraries, and Warwickshire Libraries.

Benjamin Parker, chair of Birmingham Conservation Trust, said: “We are proud of everything that has been achieved through the rescue of the Newman Brothers Coffin Works site. Since opening in 2014, from dereliction the space has become home to creative businesses, our fantastic staff and volunteer team, welcoming thousands of visitors every year. But, we are aware that the building is not fixed in time, and know improved environmental performance is critical to both the site’s sustainability and our operations as a whole.  We are very grateful to the Museum Estate and Development Fund for enabling us to take proactive steps in equipping our historic building for a sustainable future.”

Cllr Yousef Dahmash, portfolio holder for customer and transformation at Warwickshire County Council, said: “We are delighted to continue our journey working with the Arts Council having secured funding from the Libraries Improvement Fund for our Discovery Den sensory mobile library. It will offer an inclusive, comfortable, and safe space for children, young people and adults with additional and more complex needs offering sensory resources to entertain, energise or calm those who might otherwise find being in a library challenging.

“We are already embracing sensory support as part of our child-friendly offer in Warwickshire Libraries and the Discovery Den will enhance this further. It enables us to take the library service into local communities across the county supporting and inspiring an ongoing journey of discovery, connection and imagination.”