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ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS: Funding for National Football Museum

ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS: Funding for National Football Museum

The National Football Museum, Image: Google

Manchester council has given a new lease and more funding for the National Football Museum to secure its long-term future as one of the city’s ‘anchor institutions’.

The museum has been based in the city centre’s Urbis building since relocating from Preston’s Deepdale football ground in 2012.

It boasts the largest accredited collection of football memorabilia in the world  with more than 40,000 artifacts, making it an international tourist attraction and a key educational resource.

But with the museum’s 10-year lease due to expire in spring 2022, the council’s executive have agreed to extend its stay for another 25 years.

A new three-year grant funding agreement which will see £4m paid to the museum up to 2025 was also approved by councillors on Wednesday.

It is hoped that the National Football Museum’s continued residence in Manchester will help the city continue to grow the number of people playing the sport over the next decade.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, deputy leader of the council, told colleagues: “This is clearly one of our anchor institutions and it’s been hugely valuable over the years.

“Over the last 10 years we’ve been able to reduce our revenue contribution to the museum while also working on making sure the museum delivers for our communities and for our city.”

The Longsight councillor suggested that the National Football Museum’s statue could have played a role in Manchester being voted the world’s third best city in a recent Time Out poll.

He added: “Investing in institutions like this is something that I think is important to us.”

The National Football Museum’s £7.5m move to Manchester was supported by funding from both the council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

An initial 10-year sublease at a peppercorn rent was agreed between the local authority and Millennium Quarter Trust, which was established in 2002 to oversee the area of the city centre comprising the Urbis building, as well as Cathedral Gardens and Exchange Square.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic visitor numbers had reached 161,441 with a wider footfall within the building each year of 191,442.

A quarter of visitors were international and a further 25 per cent came from outside of the north west of England.

Since January 2019 residents of Manchester have been allowed to visit the museum for free, while visitors from outside are charged an entrance fee.


Words: Niall Griffiths, Local Democracy Reporter

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