Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society has secured over £20,000 funding to covert a reservoir into a visitor centre.
The funding will help the society to develop its plans to restore a Victorian underground reservoir, built in the late 19th century, and convert it into a visitor centre and associated planetarium.
Robert Dawes, Chair of MSAS said: “Our astronomy outreach has been very popular with children and adults for many years through open evenings and group visits.
“A visitor centre housed in the Victorian reservoir coupled with a planetarium will create a double wow factor and allow us to significantly expand our activities.
“We are extremely grateful to our funders for giving us the opportunity to develop our vision to create a truly unique visitor experience.”
The funding was awarded as grants from Heritage Lottery Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund and Ashfield District Council .
Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council said: “We are proud to be supporting this unique project as it has so many exciting opportunities.
“The grant shows our eagerness to ensure that this project will benefit the economy in Ashfield.
“We also hope that this will reveal the positive impact on Ashfield’s local tourism.
“It’s fantastic to see such keen enthusiasts who are passionate about what they do taking the first steps to making this idea come to life.”
The Society operates the Sherwood Observatory, which houses one of the largest amateur telescopes in the UK.
The Society was founded in 1970 and the the observatory building was built by the founders of the society on a voluntary basis sothat the society could have a place to meet and view the stars together.
The Observatory building comprises of a workshop, office, kitchen, toilet, storeroom and a lecture room as well as the observatory dome itself which houses a hand built 24 inch Newtonian Reflecting Telescope.
Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society is a non-profit making registered charity dedicated to furthering interest in astronomy within the community.
Open evenings are held throughout the autumn and winter months, the next one being on September 29.
Activities include a rolling astronomy themed lecture, an opportunity to look through the telescopes, radio astronomy demonstrations, activities for children and assistance with navigating the night sky.
Over 8- schools have already expressed an interest in sending classes to a new visitor centre and planetarium
The grant will be used to carry out a structural survey of the reservoir amongst other things,.