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Arts Council England awards £300,000 to DBC

Darlington Borough Council (DBC) has received a grant of £300,000 from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme.

Since 2021, over £22.7 million has been awarded from the Capital Investment Programme to 66 organisations across the country, including Darlington Borough Council. The Capital Investment Programme aims to help cultural organisations transform their buildings and equipment so they can operate safely post-pandemic, improve access, seize technological opportunities, and reduce environmental impact. From Barrow-in-Furness to The Isles of Scilly, the organisations receiving funding share a vision to build a fit for the future cultural sector, which all members of their communities can access.

Darlington Borough Council has been awarded £300,000 from the Capital Investment Programme as part of a capital project to create a major new visitor destination on the site of the Head of Steam museum, which will be at the heart of the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railways in 2025.  Also supported by £20million of funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, essential improvements will be carried out on several historically significant buildings on the site, linking them together to create a cluster of attractions including the Skerne Bridge, the oldest working railway bridge in the world. 

Opening in 2024, the attraction will feature a café and shop, show field, a new live engineering building alongside temporary exhibition space, archive, and extended car parking.

The award from Arts Council England will help fund state of the art virtual reality experiences to help bring history to life, a new immersive ride and new railway-themed play areas. 


Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said “World class creativity and culture needs a resilient and sustainable infrastructure to allow it to flourish. With these investments in the buildings, equipment, and digital systems of cultural organisations across England, we are helping to secure the future of that infrastructure, and making sure that people from every part of the country can continue enjoying all the benefits it delivers for years to come.”

Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for local services, said: “I’m delighted that Darlington Council has been awarded £300,000 from Arts Council England; this money will go far in helping to provide the amazing facilities and improvements we have envisioned for Head of Steam.

“Once reopened, the museum will offer an incredible experience for visitors and will breathe new life into an area that was once at the forefront of world rail engineering.”