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North West museums and libraries benefit from over £6.1 million funding boost

BRAMALL Hall, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre and Oldham Council Libraries are among 10 organisations across the North West that are set to receive a share of more than £6.1 million through the Government's Cultural Investment Fund.

The funding will support important upgrades at museums and public libraries which will ensure they can continue to be assets to their communities and improve their visitor experiences.

Bramall Hall, near Stockport, is 1 of the best preserved timber framed manor houses in England with a rare plaster ceiling and wall paintings. Its award of over £1.6 million will enable repairs to protect the historic building fabric and the collections inside from water ingress. The works will also ensure improved environmental and thermal performance for the building.

Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre will receive over £500,000 to repair and renew rooflights, guttering and rainwater pipes, as well as internal repairs to plasterwork. The works will enable reopening of some currently closed gallery spaces.

Oldham Council Libraries has been awarded around £280,000 to modernise and create versatile community spaces at Oldham Library that meet changing user needs.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:- "The brilliant organisations benefiting from these awards demonstrate the breadth of culture on offer across the North West; from illuminating insights into our Tudor heritage to interactive exhibits to inspire the next generation of scientists. This additional funding underlines the Government's commitment to supporting culture and heritage in every part of the country, and I look forward to seeing how it helps to improve the infrastructure of libraries, museums and galleries across the North West."

Councillor Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council said:- "Stockport Council is proud to own, operate, and care for Bramall Hall. Not only is it a jewel in Stockport's crown, but it's also a national treasure, and we must preserve this first-class historic house and its enviable collections for generations to come. It is great news that we have been awarded this funding which will support us in doing this. It is fitting that this major renovation work is announced during Stockport's year as Town of Culture, showcasing our amazing facility to people yet to visit or who want to re-discover it. The Hall and Stockport museums are keen to get people actively engaged with the renovation works, feeding into this year's cultural programme celebrating Stockport's people, places and stories."

Andrew Farthing, Sefton Libraries Manager, said:- "We're delighted to receive this funding for works which make a huge difference to customers, some of whom struggle with accessibility to facilities. This funding will improve the customer experience at our library and will make a new outdoor offer available, opening up new opportunities for community engagement."

Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities at Wigan Council, said:- "We're pleased that our bid to transform Leigh Library Campus has been successful. Our libraries are such a valued asset to us here in Wigan Borough and encouraging community group participation, improving accessibility and extending our programme of cultural events at Leigh library can only be a good thing. It's an exciting time for Leigh, with £32 million set to be invested in Leigh Town centre over the next decade and I can't wait to see this work come to fruition."

All Regions of England have received funding, which comes through the Museum Estate and Development Fund and the Libraries Improvement Fund, 2 parts of the Cultural Investment Fund.

Libraries Improvement Fund... The £20.5 million Libraries Improvement Fund transforms public library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and improve digital infrastructure, so they are better placed to respond to the changing ways people are using them. Local authorities can bid for the money on behalf of their library services.

Museum Estate and Development Fund... The £86 million Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) helps fund urgent museum maintenance and infrastructure works. It is open to museums accredited by Arts Council England that are not directly funded by DCMS. This is the third round of funding, bringing the total amount of investment so far to more than £62 million for 93 museums.

Made Smarter and MTC Liverpool join forces to demystify digital transformation

MTC Liverpool among five tech demonstrators backing adoption programme guide.

MADE Smarter and technology demonstrator MTC Liverpool have joined forces to demystify digital transformation with a new white paper.

'Made Smarter technologies: powering the digital transformation of SME manufacturers'
is a practical guide from the Government-backed and industry led technology adoption programme in the North West.

The free to download document aims to inform and inspire Liverpool based manufacturers in exploring existing technologies such as software, industrial IoT, automation and robotics, 3D printing, and cyber security, while showcasing emerging digital tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and digital twins.

The white paper is backed by industry leading institutions who work with Made Smarter to demonstrate technology in action to SME manufacturers, including:- The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Liverpool, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The MTC provides a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale, supporting skills, productivity and growth across the UK manufacturing industry.

Mark Sutherberry, Senior Business Development Manager, said:- "We share Made Smarter's belief that SMEs are the beating heart of UK Manufacturing. Our SME support team has been formed to work directly with a business, whether a budding entrepreneur or start-up, going through scale-up pains or maturing into a larger established SME. Together we can draw on the extensive resources of the MTC to address your practical, technical, and strategic manufacturing challenges."

Other tech demonstrators featured in the white paper include:- the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West, based in Samlesbury, Lancashire; the Hartree Centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury, Cheshire; the North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC), the University of Salford's state of the art for automation and robotics; and PrintCity, Manchester Metropolitan University's 3D printing facility.

Donna Edwards, Director of Made Smarter's North West Adoption Programme, said:- "Made Smarter's adoption programme is helping SME manufacturers catch up with the wealth of digital tools and technologies currently available, for them to be ready to fully embrace the next great technological leap. Over the last 5 years technology has shown its true colours in the form of growth, investment, employment, productivity, and a competitive advantage. The race is now on to fully capitalise on the opportunities that exist, as well as those on the horizon. Business leaders therefore need the skills, knowledge, and experience to respond to this rapid change. Demonstrating these technologies in action is vital to Made Smarter's success. We are enabling people to get their hands on these technologies by connecting SME manufacturers with each other and building relationships with leading technology institutes. This way we can ensure we keep a finger on the pulse of emerging technologies to help the sector thrive and be competitive. This new white paper brings all those elements together into a useful and simple to understand guide which business leaders and digital champions can download and share with their teams. We hope it is the starting point for further conversations with the Made Smarter team."

Since 2019, Made Smarter has helped 300 manufacturers invest £22.5m in a range of IDTs and reap a raft of rewards including:- 1,600 new jobs, 2,850 upskilled roles, all while boosting the economy by £242m.

For more information about Made Smarter and to download the white paper visit:- MadesMarter.UK.

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