PLANS to transform the D-Day Museum into a national centre of excellence has taken one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to the government.
The chancellor revealed in his Autumn Statement that he is awarding the Southsea attraction £600,000 from a Libor fund pot – bankers’ fines set aside for causes including military charities.
There have been suspicions about the effectiveness of the minister for Portsmouth role. Yet Mr Francois within his first six months of office, has secured £2.6m of investment to support arts and culture.Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council
The money will goes towards £4.88m plans to give the seafront museum a major upgrade, modernise all of its exhibitions and bring resources, such as an 83m Overlord Embroidery, into the 21st century.
The council will now find out in the new year whether The Heritage Lottery Fund will agree to contribute £4m so the scheme can go ahead.
It comes after a plea was issued to George Osborne by Portsmouth council leader Donna Jones for government cash.
Roger Ching, chair of trustees at The Portsmouth D-Day Museum Trust, said: ‘George Osborne’s announcement is great news for the D-Day Museum and our planned re-development, but we still need more funding for our project to transform the D-Day museum.’
The council is contributing £350,000, another £50,000 has come from the organisers of Victorious Festival and £16,000 has come from other donations.
Tory culture boss Linda Symes said: ‘This funding is great news for our aspirations for the D-Day museum.
‘It means we’ve achieved the match-funding target for our Heritage Lottery Fund application for £4m. We’ll find out in January if that’s been successful and the Chancellor’s announcement today takes us a step closer to realising our ambitions.’
And in another boost to Portsmouth’s museums, The Royal Marines Museum, in Eastney, will receive £2m enable its move to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard so more people can see its collections.
Cllr Jones said securing the cash was made even more possible thanks to the minister for Portsmouth, Mark Francois, who also lobbied Mr Osborne.
She said: ‘There have been suspicions about the effectiveness of the minister for Portsmouth role.
‘Yet Mr Francois within his first six months of office, has secured £2.6m of investment to support arts and culture.’