The Balmoral has received lifeline funding of £15,600 from the Governments £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the Charity though the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Bristol’s MV Balmoral have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
  • Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow & grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund.

The historic ‘pleasure steamer’ Balmoral, which has called Bristol’s floating harbour home since 1985, has been awarded £15,600 from the Governments £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help it fight through the financial peril caused by the continuing Coronavirus crisis.

A member of the National Historic Fleet, MV Balmoral is of pre-eminent historical significance and one of 445 heritage organisations set to receive this emergency funding support

As a result of the pandemic, the ship has been unable to open to the public since the middle of March, leading the Charity being deprived of essential income to support the ship’s maintenance and preservation. During the lockdown volunteers, were less able to attend and maintain the ships working machinery and the decks’ integrity against rainwater.

The grant of £15,600 from the Culture Recovery Fund will contribute towards essential maintenance costs, PPE, heating and allow continuing restoration work. It will also allow the vessels integrity to be weather protected against the elements and for the Charity to begin planning for the future.

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

Oliver Dowden CBE, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 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.”

Kieran Henshall, Trustee of the MV Balmoral Fund Limited, says:

“We are immensely grateful that the Government understands and recognises the vital role that Balmoral plays, both at the heart of Bristol, and also the positive economic impact the ship has on tourism and the coastal communities that Balmoral supports around Britain.

This grant allows Balmoral to continue through the Pandemic without holding events on board. It also provides vital funding towards protecting the deck’s watertight integrity against the seasonal weather and allowing her volunteers to continue with essential maintenance work throughout the Winter months. It will also allow the Charity to continue its educational role, by allowing virtual activities to be broadcast from onboard the ship.”

“The charity is incredibly grateful for the Government’s support during these challenging times, and while we will not be able to make up for the loss in income, the Charity can now begin to refocus on its plans of returning the Balmoral to passenger service and supporting the coastal communities of the Bristol Channel that need her.”

 Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

 “It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.

“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.  But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”

This is the first stage towards returning Balmoral to pleasure cruising. It will contribute towards the ship being maintained and improved in the months ahead before the launch of a major appeal next year. Plans would return the Balmoral for pleasure trips to tens-of-thousands of explorers and continue educating people on the spectacular history of Britain’s heritage coastline.

For more information about MV Balmoral, please visit

MV Balmoral is one of our Shipshape Network South West Projects, find out more about them here

MV Balmoral #HereForCulture (c) MV Balmoral Region South West