Major boost for tourism

A MULTI-MILLION pound discovery centre which will attract thousands of visitors to Mansfield each year will open next Easter.

A MULTI-MILLION pound discovery centre which will attract thousands of visitors to Mansfield each year will open next Easter.

And the new Making It! Discovery Centre aims to replace lost jobs and bring in more than 50,000 visitors a year when it opens at Mansfield Brewery s former brewhouse site at Littleworth.

Around 4m has been spent converting the historic building into a three-storey, hands-on heritage centre based on the theme of local manufacturing and making things.

Visitors will be able to view virtual reality displays, a cyber caf and several themed galleries related to the area s main industries.

But project managers believe the exciting development will also boost the town s image and attract spin-off enterprises that will thrive on the influx of day-trippers.

Says project chief executive Sue Walters: Mansfield has suffered over the years because of the decline of the mining and textiles industry, but by bringing in around 50,000 visitors a year this will help regenerate the area.

It s a tourist attraction in the true sense of the word, but there s also a lot in there for the local community.

The facility will also house a 70-seater auditorium, education and resource centres as well as an oral history archive to record the memories of the local community.

And it is hoped the centre will allow local people to improve their IT skills and boost their chances of finding work.

Coun Graham Naylor, chairman of the trustees, told Chad the project highlighted the ongoing economic regeneration of the area and would boost the learning potential of the town s schoolchildren.

We are trying to fit it in with the National Curriculum so that the school s can use it, Coun Naylor told Chad. It is very important that youngsters get to know manufacturing and get to know it s a good career to have.

The Making It! Industrial Heritage Trust, made up of Mansfield District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Mansfield 2010, Shacklocks Mansfield and West Notts College, was founded in 1995.

Since then the project has attracted several major cash handouts, including a 1.7million grant from the Millennium Commission and a 1.2m windfall from the European Regional Development Fund.

Local businesses have also pledged their commitment to the scheme, but project managers are still looking for more sponsors.

For more information call Sue Walters on Mansfield 473200.

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