Newhaven Fort has received a grant of £850,000 from The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through its Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

The grant has been awarded as part of the ‘Here For Culture’ campaign and will help Newhaven Fort retain its cultural, educational and historic legacy in the town.

The grant will be used for a number of projects but principally to review and implement social distancing measures for entry and exit to the Fort along with ensuring safe routes to view exhibitions and possible exhibition relocations.

Duncan Kerr, CEO at Wave Leisure Trust – the organisation that manages Newhaven Fort, said: “This is fantastic news for Newhaven and I am delighted that the grant will be used to support the Fort’s recovery from COVID-19 and ensure it opens next season, despite that challenging circumstances.

“The Fort is the largest work of defence ever constructed in Sussex and the 10-acre site plays a key role in the town’s cultural heritage. Newhaven has a rich history that needs to be celebrated and this funding will help us do just that.”

Cllr James MacCleary, Leader of Lewes District Council, added: “I’m so pleased to hear that our Fort is being awarded this much-needed funding boost. I live close by and visited frequently with my family before Covid-19 forced it to close. The Fort is a central part of Newhaven’s history and has played a major role in our national story. There is an urgent need for a lot more investment in the structure itself, but this still a great start.

“This money adds to the recent funding that the District Council pledged to fund a replacement bridge at the entrance to the Fort. It is great to see the government supporting our ambitions to invest in Newhaven’s heritage to build for our town’s future.”

Attracting more than 30,000 visitors each year, Newhaven Fort, like many heritage sites across the UK was impacted significantly due to Covid-19 and has been closed since March 2020.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”