A GOVERNMENT cash award has been welcomed by the organisation which runs Haworth’s Bronte Parsonage Museum.

The Bronte Society says the £119,200 – received as part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund – will support the museum through its traditionally-quieter autumn and winter months and help finance increased digital activity.

The museum reopened at the end of August after the longest closure in its 92-year history, during lockdown.

But it is continuing to face various challenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The parsonage – once home to the Bronte family and the place where the novels Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were penned – usually attracts more than 70,000 visitors from across the world every year.

But owing to social distancing requirements, the museum’s numbers are currently limited to below a sustainable level.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has presented us with some of the most challenging circumstances we have ever found ourselves in,” says Trish Gurney, chairman of the Bronte Society’s board of trustees.

“There is still some uncertainty ahead, but the award from the Culture Recovery Fund means we can face the future with more confidence and ensure that we can continue to fulfil our mission to bring the Brontes to the world and the world to Yorkshire.

“We are very grateful to Arts Council England and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for their award and for the public recognition of our contribution to culture in the UK.”

The Bronte Society has also been raising funds through a Just Giving campaign, which has been boosted with a £25,000 donation from the Charlotte Aitken Trust.

Sebastian Faulkes, chairman of the trust, said: “The trust was set-up with money left in the will of the literary agent Gillon Aitken (1938-2016) in memory of his only child, Charlotte.

“We are delighted to support the Bronte Parsonage Museum appeal. It is the first grant the charity has made and it could not be in a better cause. Haworth is an important part of our literary heritage and it is sobering to think that the Bronte sisters were writing their great novels at roughly the same age that Charlotte Aitken had reached when she died.

“Whatever the temporary restrictions on visitors, we hope the Bronte Society and the Bronte Parsonage Museum will continue to flourish.”

The donation is welcomed by Rebecca Yorke, head of communications at the Bronte Society.

She said: “The generous donation by the Charlotte Aitken Trust is a very welcome boost to our fundraising campaign – and has helped us reach our initial target of £100,000.

“We are very grateful to Sebastian Faulkes and the other trustees. Their support will help us survive this period of crisis and ensure that we can continue to promote the Bronte legacy and support writers and artists working today.”

For more about the museum, visit bronte.org.uk.