A NEW stand-alone trust has been proposed to run the county council's museum services.

A report has been written about the future resilience of Herefordshire Council's Museum Service, as the council continues to face budget cuts.

Consultants Prince & Pearce suggest transferring the operation of the service to a newly-formed charitable organisation (trust).

The trust would then put together a long term plan for the service and would seek funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund/Arts Council, private donations, local businesses, NMiTE and the council.

The council was awarded Heritage Lottery Funding for the Resilient Heritage review of the museum service, with the Herefordshire Museum Service Support Group (HMSSG) as a community partner.

Chairman of HMSSG, Miriam Griffiths, said: “We welcome the report’s carefully considered proposals for the museum service.

"A sustainable governance and business model is the key to a resilient future for the county’s museum.

"This plan has three major strengths: it will safeguard the many thousands of priceless historical objects which are held in trust for the people of Herefordshire; it will increase people’s access to these collections; and it will enable the museum service to make a strong contribution to the new draft Cultural Strategy for the county.”

The county’s museum service comprises the staff, the county collections housed at the Museum Resource and Learning Centre in Friar Street, the Museum and Art Gallery in Broad Street, and the Black and White House Museum.

The report said setting up a trust can take a few years to be fully operational so the report authors suggest an established and active charity acts as an interim host subsidiary trust until the other trust is set up.

Initially the buildings and collections would remain assets of the county council. But in the long term the council's assets could be transferred to the trust at their discretion.

The full Resilient Heritage report can be found at herefordshire.gov.uk/downloads/file/13328/the_future_resilience_of_herefordshire_councils_museum_service

Along with other reports about the future of museum, library and archive services, this will be considered by the council’s cabinet on May 10.

The HMMSG can be contacted at: herefordmuseumgroup@gmail.com or see the website herefordshiremuseumsupport.org.uk.