The new Visitor Centre opened to the public in August, so it would be in time to host the 34th annual Robin Hood Festival, but Thursday’s event will be a chance for supporters and funding organisations to have a good look around.
A year-long build on the Visitor Centre was funded by Nottinghamshire County Council (which provided £4million funding), the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Thoresby Estate; and the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), which leads a consortium managing the project.
The D2N2 LEP – the private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community and voluntary organisations, promoting economic growth across Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire – also invested £500,000 in the Visitor Centre via its Local Growth Fund, funding allocated by Government to part-fund infrastructure projects directly benefiting the economy.
Gemma Howarth, RSPB Senior Site Manager, said: “Whilst the last 12 months of building has been a huge focus for us, the project dates back much further than this, and includes years of planning to help bring it to fruition.
“It will be great to see so many of those who played a part in this process to come and see what they helped to create, now the building is complete and operational. We hope it will be a very enjoyable occasion for all involved.”
Elizabeth Fagan, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Sherwood Forest attracts visitors from all over the world, a truly global tourist brand which adds significantly to the regional economy.
“D2N2 recognises the importance of the visitor economy, one of our eight key sectors, and the need for a state-of-the-art Visitor Centre; which is why we were happy to provide major investment in this new facility. I am sure it will be popular with the Forest’s many visitors for years to come.”
Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Nottinghamshire County Council Leader, added: “We would like to thank everyone who has worked with us as this exciting project has developed. The official opening is a proud moment and it is inspiring to think that millions of people visiting our iconic Sherwood Forest will enjoy spending time at the visitor centre in the years to come.”
Among the guests on the day will be actor Phil Rose, who played ‘Friar Tuck’ in all three series of the hit 1980s TV programme Robin of Sherwood; which starred Michael Praed and then Jason Connery as ‘Robin Hood’.
The Centre includes a welcome area, new shop and café, and an outside terrace and amphitheatre. A new Robin Hood-themed playground, designed with the help of local children, is due to be completed shortly.
Local contractors, Woodhead Construction of Edwinstowe, built the new Centre. During construction, more than 90% of the spend was made within a 40-mile radius of the site. The retail and catering operations will continue to source as much of their produce locally too.
Now that the new Visitor Centre is open, work will begin soon to sensitively remove the old visitor centre and car parks, with the site being returned to nature. The area is a designated site of special scientific interest, and highly protected, which is why a new location had to be found for a visitor facility.
There will be no public access to the shop and café at the new centre for the duration of the event tomorrow, until 1.30pm. The toilets will remain open, and there will be hot drinks and snacks available from the mobile catering unit on site.
For more information about the new building and future events, please see website www.visitsherwood.co.uk
Further information about D2N2’s work to promote the Visitor Economy key sector can be found at web link www.d2n2lep.org/key-sectors/visitor-economy
Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Local Growth Fund: LEPs are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12billion through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders. Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.
Media wishing to arrange an interview in connection with the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre opening should contact Helen Moffat, Communications Project Manager for the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre and National Nature Reserve, on 07753 421393 or email: email@example.com
Media wanting more information about the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership can contact Sean Kirby, D2N2 Communications Manager, on 0115 9578749 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org