We’re a step nearer reopening – the Big Lottery fund have today confirmed a grant of £422,000 to build our community rooms, which added to the funding we’ve previously raised takes the total to over £500,000.
Award-winning Tunbridge Wells-based Kaner Olette Architects have designed an iconic building for the currently vacant site, and it has received Planning Permission from Thanet District Council.
The Caves are in one of the most deprived areas of the country, so as well as attracting visitors, the new community rooms will be home to an innovative education programme helping local schools study coastal geology, geography and history. The community rooms will also be home to a range of regular classes, workshops and meetings for local people. Local groups will be able to use the rooms and we’ll be helping local people start their own groups, too.
“We’re providing a space where people can come together in Cliftonville and find they have more in common than that which separates them,” says Margate Caves chair Sarah Vickery, “by turning a lost visitor attraction which is quite literally part of the local landscape into a place for local people.”
While the Big Lottery grant is a huge step, a further funding application is needed to complete the project, and last week we were given the go ahead to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful, that grant will be announced in March 2017.
After today’s huge funding announcement, Margate Caves Trustee Valerie Kirschner says, “A massive thank you to each and everyone out there, who in so many different ways, has given their support and encouragement to us during the past six years.”
So – huge thanks to The Big Lottery Fund for the support we’ve announced today, and for their previous funding to help us develop our plans. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and all our other previous funders, too.
But we wouldn’t have got here without all the people who’ve donated time and given us support. That includes our solicitors Boys and Maughan, our accountants Spurling Cannon, Graham Daws Associates (our Caves experts), Kevin Millington at Acorn Tourism Consulting, Paul Gannaway from our Quantity Surveyors Betteridge & Milsom, Rod F. LeGear, MIfA , Kent Archaelogical Society and to The Trust for Thanet Archaeology, Birchington, Kent.
Special thanks to Mike Kaner, and his team at Kaner Olette Architects in Tunbridge Wells, for designing our beautiful building.
A big thank you to our Trustees Sarah Vickery (from the Shell Grotto), Valerie Kirschner, Fiona Sherriff and Dan Thompson, who’ve brought us this far.
A special Mention-In-Dispatches to Ellen Clark our project manager, who’s overseen our funding applications and has developed our business plan.
And finally – you, for supporting us along the way.