Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Dean Heritage Centre

  The Dean Heritage Centre is a registered museum run as an educational charity. Our main source of revenue has been visitor income, which has allowed the organisation to be self-financing. Recent years have seen considerable drops in visitor numbers and we are securing alternative sources of income in the form of grant aid and our Service Level Agreement with the Forest of Dean District Council. Particularly we have a Lottery Award for a capital grants programme of £498,000 (in principle) and a revenue grant for a project value of £89,000 (Community Archiving) we also have considerable support from the South West Regional Development Agency as matched funding.

  If we fail to keep these projects on track, this museum will be in an increasingly vulnerable position which puts the collection at risk. This collection relates specifically to the Forest of Dean an area the Countryside Agency has recognised as being of special merit. It would lose significance outside the context of this area.

  Our concern is that we are expected to plan on visitor numbers being achievable, throughout our projects.

  Foot and mouth has resulted in a considerable loss of revenue, this on top of further losses and costs incurred as a result of the flooding in October of 2000. The effects of foot and mouth are likely to be long term, we may well have to consider the impact on next year's trading, leading up to our development process. Our budgets are pruned to the last and the salary levels of the staff are already below average, our position is extremely vulnerable.

  Interest free loans are of little help to a charity such as this, we are unlikely to be able to afford to repay them.

  The impact on tourism for the wider community in Dean is considerable, this area is still recognised as one that demonstrates high levels of social deprivation and unemployment. This will, along with redundancies at the Rank Xerox plant put this area into further decline.

ADMISSIONS DOWN  February  26 per cent;

  March      63 per cent;

  April           9 per cent.

SHOP PROFIT DOWN  February  38 per cent;

  March      38 per cent;

  April         16 per cent.

  Our decision to remain open during the crisis has proven to be the right one as we have begun to see an upturn during April and over the bank holidays, which we hope will continue.

April 2001

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