Many will have noticed the empty windows and closed doors at Rye Heritage Centre following Rye Town Council’s reluctant decision to cease operations. Happily, following a social media campaign launched last autumn the council agreed to consider and subsequently accept an initiative by a newly formed charity to keep the centre open and the model operating without having to find a new home.
The local community showed tremendous support and passion for the model of the town, seen by many as a local highlight. The model has been in existence for around forty years and many local residents who perhaps saw it for the first time as schoolchildren have come to consider it as a community asset to be preserved and valued highly. Visitors from all over the world come to see the model’s sound and light show and often return with friends and family. The centre not only makes a significant contribution to the town’s tourism offering but provides a valuable educational facility to both visitors and local residents alike.
A spokesman for the campaign, said “The interest and support from the wider Rye community has driven the charity trustees forward in their efforts to achieve the model’s continued survival and we thank them for that support. It is a key to our ethos to maintain community engagement in to the future
“Following successful negotiations with Rye Town Council a submission is being made to the Charities Commission to register Rye Heritage Centre as a charitable incorporated organisation, governed by a board of trustees which has been put together from experienced and committed individuals who came forward when the closure issue came into the public domain last year. A lot of hard work has already been completed and the charity plans to take on running the Heritage Centre and the famous town model from April this year! We will shortly be contacting those who have already offered help and setting up a register of volunteers for various roles, if you’d like to join us and offer help in whatever way please do get in touch. We are looking for anything from fundraisers to cleaners to volunteer staff (a key requirement to make the centre financially viable).
“Of course, we need money! If you’d like to donate a crowdfunding project will soon be set up to receive donations, if you’re feeling really generous and would like to donate £100 or more please get in touch direct as our crowdfunder will be restricted to donations of less than £100 for the time being. We will be looking for funding for initial set up costs, sales material, stock and specific items such as upgrades and repairs to electric wiring and heating; exhibition materials etc.
“To oversee the day to day running of the centre and the model we also need to employ a part time manager and we’d be happy to hear from anyone wanting to be considered for that position. More information on the role can be obtained by requesting an application pack.”
To contact the charity trustees for any reason, including requesting an application pack for the manager position please send an email enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget you can follow progress on Facebook by joining the Support Rye Town Model group page, details of the crowdfunding campaign will be announced shortly.
Image Credits: Rye Town Council , Simon Parsons .