Glasgow Life, the charity which runs the museum and glasshouse, today confirmed £850,000 of initial development funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, part of a multi-million redevelopment project.

The capital will enable the charity to “engage with more of the city’s communities about the project,” and “focus on making the building more accessible for all and improving its environmental sustainability,” it said.

The development phase is expected to take around 16 months and will facilitate work with Glasgow’s communities, and paves the way for a second stage application, which is expected to secure an additional £6.65 million of support from Heritage Fund.

The project’s £7.5m total from the National Lottery Heritage Fund would be among the largest the funder has made to a single project in Scotland.

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “I am delighted we are supporting this inspiring project, which is not only about redeveloping a much-loved building, but also rediscovering the story of Glasgow and putting the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens back in the heart of local communities.”

The total cost of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens project is £35.9 million. Glasgow City Council has already committed £2.9m to the project. A further £11m contribution will come from Glasgow City Council, while Glasgow Life continues to work with other public and private sector funders to secure the remaining investment required.

Glasgow Life said it will follow the community-centred approach used at The Burrell Collection, allowing local people to shape all aspects of the refurbishment, including collecting, interpretation, and programming.

It said early consultation suggests this could include better wayfinding, new accessible toilets, and spaces that support wellbeing such as a dedicated quiet space.

Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “While there is still work to be done to secure additional external funding, we can now move forward with this exciting project to restore, re-imagine, and improve a much-loved cultural and historical asset.

“We will use all we have learned about engaging with communities, developing innovative digital technology, and designing accessible spaces, to celebrate the people of Glasgow and tell the city’s stories in a world-class, accessible, and sustainable museum.”

Set in historic Glasgow Green, the iconic building is home to collections documenting the city’s social history from 1750 to the present day. The ‘new’ People’s Palace and Winter Gardens will be a dynamic community-led museum and flexible space, which will foster new ways to promote inclusion, access, and participation, and minimise its impact on the environment.

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