FURTHER fundraising avenues continue to be explored by Museums Worcestershire in relation to its three heritage sites.

Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, The Commandery and The County Museum at Hartlebury all come under the organisation’s umbrella, with work ongoing to form a development trust as well as investigate other fundraising opportunities.

In the ‘priority areas for development’ in the Museums Worcestershire Strategic Plan 2019-2024, establishing the Tickenhill Collection Trust (TCT) as a development trust “for museums fundraising” and to “investigate other opportunities” of the trust is highlighted.

The trust was set up in 1958 by collectors Alice and Joseph Parker of Tickenhill Manor after acquiring a “sizeable and significant collection” of historical artefacts which they wanted to preserve.

This was established in the County Museum at Hartlebury Castle in 1964, after acceptance by the county council, which became sole trustee in 1970. The collections have gone on to be managed by Worcestershire County Collection.

In 2017, Museums Worcestershire sought external advice on the “opportunities and responsibilities” presented by the largely dormant TCT and were told it could become a development trust.

This would allow for “significant capital developments” becoming available for the County Museum and other sites through fundraising.

Museum audiences manager Helen Large said Museums Worcestershire “continues to work through the advice provided”.

“A development trust would allow the museum greater financial resilience as it would enable access to funding support from those organisations who welcome bids from charitable trusts,” she said.

While Arts Council funding, granted three years ago, has seen a fundraising consultant commissioned, mostly to oversee the “new interpretation and care” of The Commandery, relaunched in 2017.

Meanwhile, further investigation seeks to ensure that the city council is “fully utilising the tax and financial structures available to all heritage sites”.

This is largely in relation to the commercial arms of the museums and Guildhall, including hosting weddings, external events and through corporate room hire.

“Museums Worcestershire continues to fundraise for both one-off and ongoing projects at all the sites, with about 20 per cent of the annual funding for museums coming from external grant funders and individual donations,” said Ms Large.

“Since its formation in 2010, Museums Worcestershire has brought in more than one million pounds’ worth of external funding investment into Worcester city’s heritage,” she added.