The Steam Trust submitted a proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund in March to improve the displays at the Gauge museum at Bishops Lydeard and to instal interactive interpretation displays designed to attract younger visitors, with wi-fi to allow visitors to use their i-phones to give an audio tour. The £65,000 bid (with an extra £10,000 and benefits in kind provided by the Trust,) would also have funded a Learning Officer to engage with local schools and colleges to organise visits to the museums along the line, linked by train.
The HLF have advised the Trust that their application has been declined. Little further information has been given, but we will learn more at a feedback meeting which we will be attend next month.
Trust Chairman, Chris Austin, said “This is a disappointing response, given the imaginative proposals to engage with young people and to interpret the heritage of the railway more effectively for our visitors. A lot of work went into the application, including external advice, and we are grateful for the support we received from local authorities and other parts of the railway family.
“We are all volunteers and depend on donations to make improvements. Despite this setback, we will continue to develop the museum as we have done since we took over in January, although we will not be able to do so as quickly, nor do we have the resources to engage with local schools as we had hoped to do. We will continue to seek for other sources of funding for the future.”
14 May 2017