Lord Northampton has pledged to set up an arts and heritage fund in Northamptonshire with some of the proceeds from the controversial sale of the Egyptian statue, Sekhemka.
The statue sold for more than £15 million at Christie’s on Thursday night - well above the expected estimate of £6 million. Fifty-five percent of the proceeds went to Northampton Borough Council and the remainder went to Lord Northampton.
Lord Northampton contacted Northamptonshire Community Foundation on Friday morning to say he would be donating £1 million to set up a fund to help small, grassroots projects and community groups who are deliver arts, cultural and heritage activities.
Chief executive, Victoria Miles, said the foundation was delighted with Lord Northampton’s offer.
“We were overwhelmed with this substantial gift of £1million, which can be used to provide essential funding for some of our smaller voluntary and charitable groups providing excellent community cultural activity across our county.
“We know Lord Northampton and his son Lord Compton very well, they are true supporters of ours and they have already given to our work around alleviating food poverty,” she added.
The money will go to organisations such as a world war memorial group, a community choir, volunteer networks supporting a heritage site or local museum, young people engaging with arts and music activities or any number of good causes in the arts and heritage field, she said.
“Projects such as these have a great value for local people and thriving communities to support involvement, education and enjoyment of the cultural life of our the county and celebrating our shared history,” she added.
Lord Northampton said: “I’m delighted to be able to set up a dedicated Arts and Heritage fund with the Northamptonshire Community Foundation of which I have pledged a donation of £1 million.
“Hopefully, the foundation can attract further match funding and we can support generations of projects that support the cultural life of our county in perpetuity. The foundation is the go-to-place to ensure that grants are given out effectively and we have a long standing relationship with them as part of our family commitment to supporting the community.”
The controversial sale of the statue went ahead despite protests from campaign groups and the Egyptian government. The proceeds of the sale were split between the borough council and Lord Northampton. The borough council has vowed that its portion of the sale will be ring-fenced for the development of a new museum in Northampton.