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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Boost to economy and jobs with restoration

THE announcement of government funding to secure dozens of jobs has proved a major cause for celebration.

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Those involved say the award of £1.25m to the Lakeland Arts Trust to help fund the restoration of the Windermere Steamboat Museum will have wide-ranging positive effects on the area.

The money is set to unlock around £9m in further investments and enable the trust to realise its ambitious vision for the museum.

The Regional Growth Fund Grant will in turn secure a £7.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant as well as private investment, to be used to create a world-class tourist attraction.

The plans also form part of the Windermere Waterfront Programme, a regeneration project aimed at bringing in visitors by raising the profile of the area.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron was at the museum on Friday to celebrate the news, which he said would have a significant impact on the local economy.

He added: “You are going to have an absolutely fantastic and fascinating place open to the public, a really interesting tourist attraction.

“It will create more jobs locally and boost the number of people visiting the Lakes.

“It is important in terms of heritage but also for the economy – what it means for jobs is immense.”

He said the power of the grant to unlock further employment opportunities was welcome news in tough economic times.

Mr Farron was involved in bringing the funding to the area and said it signalled the start of an exciting period for Windermere.

The funding now means the plans can be put into action and the £10m refurbishment of the museum can take place.

Mr Farron added: “The great thing about the RGF is they are careful about how they spend it – and they have a record of backing winners.

“You have to be very clear about what you will do with the money. It took a lot of work to get this but it is a good use of public money and it is going to be spent wisely.”

And he described as “pretty impressive” the fact Lakeland Arts Trust were one of two South Lakes companies to receive funding, saying it meant the region was punching above its weight.

Burneside-based paper manufacturer James Cropper was also granted £3.15m to fund a biomass steam generating plant.

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