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Staff merger approved at Preston's Harris Museum

Preston's iconic Harris Museum
Preston's iconic Harris Museum
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Staffing teams at Preston’s Harris Museum will be merged later this year as part of ongoing efforts to secure a significant funding pot.

Under the current system, art gallery and museum staff and those working at the site’s library are split between the city council and county hall.

All workers are set to come under the umbrella of the city council after plans were approved by the county council’s cabinet last week. The move will improve efficiency and help to “embed cultural change”, a report has said.

Museum's major funding boost

The flagship cultural hub landed a four-year funding stream last year from Arts Council England (Ace) but it missed out on a “game-changing” windfall from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Feedback from both organisations has recommended a single team should be running the Harris, prompting the decision to merge the separate teams.

Council documents say the transfer “will be relatively straight forward” given that the two authorities are already working together on the Re-imagining the Harris project.

A report reads: “Key funders such as Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England have made it clear that they expect to see a single team running the Harris (for example the Heritage Lottery Fund made the following statement in relation to any future significant bid for capital support: ‘concrete progress needs to be made in advancing the transformation process at the Harris – in particular the move to a single team.’”

Having missed out on HLF support last year, another bid will be submitted this year.

The Ace grant will see the Harris receive £900,000 - £225k per year- up to March 2022.

The report adds: “Informal discussions have regularly taken place with all members of staff...they are well aware of the potential move to a single team.”