GRANTHAM Museum has been saved from closure thanks to the efforts of Grantham people and businessmen.
Lincolnshire County Council announced earlier this year it was withdrawing funding from the museum in St Peter’s Hill to cut costs.
The future looked bleak, with indefinite closure appearing an inevitability. Instead, 200 volunteers answered an appeal by the newly-formed Grantham Museum Community Heritage Association to keep alive hopes of a reprieve.
Everything hinged on a business plan for taking over the running of the museum which was sent to Lincolnshire County Council last month.
On Friday afternoon Lincolnshire County Council announced the association will take over the museum in April, 2011.
Alastair Hawken of Grantham Business Club is a member of the association.
He said: “I was chuffed to bits to hear the news and I know the whole committee were elated as well.
“But now the hard work really starts - turning the business plan into a reality.”
With the loss of all county council funding the museum must now be run as a self-funding business. The association plans to invest in installing a new shop on the ground floor of the museum which will help boost revenues.
Mr Hawken said the overwhelming support the museum has had from the public since the closure was announced will need to be continued if the business plan is to succeed in the long term.
He said: “We have had over 200 active volunteers register which is hugely important because without the community behind this venture it will not work. To have that level of support is great news.
“That resource will allow the museum to be a success - even more of a success than before. Personally, I believe what has happened in the past six months, in the long-term, will be the best thing that’s ever happened to the museum.
“It has been well run but has never really excelled, never really kept up with the changes and it really needs to evolve.”
The county council has accepted the proposals but forward by community groups in Grantham for Grantham Museum and Skegness for Church Farm Museum but rejected a proposal to save Stamford Museum.
VOLUNTEERS who have put their names forward to help run Grantham Museum are invited to a meeting at Grantham College on WEDNESDAY (Dec 15) at 6pm.