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East Midlands Chamber News

Focus wins £10m for Leicester rail museum

Green ArrowFocus Consultants is celebrating the news today that plans for a railway museum in the UK are steaming ahead after winning millions of pounds worth of funding for the project.

The Great Central Railway (GCR), in partnership with the National Railway Museum (NRM) and Leicester City Council (LCC), plan to create a £17m heritage railway museum in Leicester.

Focus has been a key member of the team that put together the funding bid and has just learnt that the application for a massive cash award has been a success.

Partner at Focus Consultants, Steven Fletcher, said: “This is fantastic news for the entire team. In conjunction with the partners behind the scheme, Focus is delighted to have put together this successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new museum will be significant locally, regionally and nationally in so many ways.”

Bill Ford, Managing Director of GCR said: “We were delighted to work with Focus on our Stage 1 HLF major grant application for the Main Line Museum. The Focus team was extremely knowledgeable and professional and steered us through the complex process of assembling the various strands of activity into an impressive portfolio of documents, designs and supporting evidence.

"Focus helped us build a strong partnership team which we are confident will bring the project to fruition now we have secured development funding.”

The Main Line Museum will house some of the most iconic locomotives, rolling stock, artefacts and documents from national and local collections. It will form one of the largest collections of its kind in the UK bringing together items which relate to the story of GCR and how it played its part in establishing Leicester as one of the UK’s most thriving industrial and cultural cities.

Uniquely, the operational heritage railway will be integrated into the museum.

Nottingham-based Focus Consultants has worked with the partners since 2013 and developed the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid which was submitted to the national programme in November 2014. The work undertaken by the funding team included consultation, business planning, economic impact assessment and the development of the £10m funding bid. Focus also provided project management and cost consultancy services to support the application.

Focus, which also has offices in Leicester, Holborn in London, Boston and Aubourn in Lincolnshire, specialises in creative approaches to securing funding packages and delivering high quality projects across the UK.

Since its creation in 1994, Focus has helped to secure more than £953m of grant assistance for a range of projects and businesses across the UK and delivered more than £1.1bn of projects and programmes.

As part of the Stage One pass, £495,000 has been secured to support with further development work on the project. It has received earmarked funding of £9.5m. Earmarked funding means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money.

The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so this is an endorsement of outline proposals. The project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to secure a firm award. It is hoped that a Stage Two application will be submitted in October 2016.

The museum, which will be located on GCR’s Leicester North site, has a proposed opening date of Autumn 2019.