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Lottery boss visits Whitehaven

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THE BEACON Museum was delighted to welcome Nathan Lee, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West on Friday (12 May).

Mr Lee and his colleague Maya Sharma, Development Officer, visited the Beacon Museum and took the opportunity to look around the new conference centre currently under construction which will be named the ‘Beacon Portal.’

The Portal will provide meeting and event space to hire to complement the Museum facilities as well as housing many of the group sessions and learning activities which the Beacon Museum currently deliver for local school groups and more.

The Fund awarded the Museum a substantial grant in 2007 to develop and maintain the building as a publicly accessible and accredited museum.

Mr Lee said: “It’s great to see the Beacon using the opportunity the new Portal brings to become commercially successful at the same time as providing a valuable community asset.”

Elizabeth Kwasnik, Beacon Museum Director, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund has given significant and much appreciated support to the Beacon Museum over many years.

“We were delighted to welcome Nathan Lee and Maya Sharma from HLF North West to the Beacon Museum last Friday to let them see what their support has helped us to achieve and to explore and discuss ways in which HLF might support our future plans.

“These plans are wholly focussed on preserving heritage and making it accessible in new, creative and sustainable ways for the benefit of Copeland residents and visitors to West Cumbria.”

While in town Mr Lee visited the former Little Hong Kong building at Market Place which has received a grant of over £160,000 from Whitehaven Townscape Heritage Initiative.

The renovation work on the building began in summer 2016 and is set to be completed at the end of May. The property has been transformed into two flats and two shops.

Mr Sai Keung Ng, owner of 48-50 Market Place, said: “The building has cost over £250,000 to renovate and I’m very grateful for the grant I received from the Townscape Heritage Initiative.

“It has allowed me to transform my building creating a new and modern home for my tenants while taking into account the heritage of the property.”

The newly renamed takeaway ‘New Hong Kong’ is set to open in mid-June.

The Whitehaven Townscape Heritage Initiative launched in October 2013 and runs until December 2018 and has so far invested nearly one million pounds in Whitehaven town centre, transforming buildings including the recently refurbished Whitehaven Foyer, two vacant properties on Market Place and James Street and the Little Hong Kong.

The Townscape Heritage Initiative is a partnership led by Copeland Council that receives funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, Copeland Borough Council, Britain’s Energy Coast and Cumbria County Council.

Julie Betteridge, Director of Customers and Communities, Copeland Borough Council said: “We are very pleased that The Heritage Lottery Fund representatives took the time to come and see how their funding is assisting our regeneration of the area.   

“The Beacon Museum and The Townscape Heritage Initiative are both great examples of Copeland Borough Council initiatives that support our local community and economy and we couldn’t offer these facilities and services to local residents and businesses without the support of funders such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.”