Friday, 15 June 2012

Exciting week for heritage

What a very busy week! It has been great-I have worked with Year 5 at St Pius X Barrow this week-with an author day on Wednesday and a full on trip to Furness Abbey today. I between I have been preparing for the Dystonia Awareness Day tomorrow, meeting with Sabine from the Dock Museum and meeting with Furness Abbey Fellowship (FAF). 

FAF is about to be launched properly-we are getting ready to become a fully fledged group and have made two appointments. Leeann Herbert is the new Secretary and I am the Chairman. We are seeking a treasurer and Vice Chair at the next meeting. We are moving towards partnership working with English Heritage and the Dock Museum and it is looking positive. Our aim is to raise awareness, improve the visitor experience and increase visitors t the Abbey and other heritage sites in Furness.

The week kicked off with Stuart Maconie's brilliant cameo piece on Barrow-it was so positive and reflective that I could have cried. All too often we suffer from the "Mike Harding" mentality-that Barrow is at the end of "the world's longest cul-de-sac"-this throw away comment-though funny-has done a great deal to damage the profile of Barrow. All too often the same desperate, deprived areas are flagged up and shown (I won't name them-you know where they are) and the wider, rural beauty and diversity is simply ignored. Stuart got it just right-the blend of innovation, industry and inspirational beauty was subtle and eye-catching-we need to capitalise on this and begin to develop the area.

There seems to be a sea change in attitude-our group and the new "Sense of Place" group-set up by local business both have the drive and the will to bring Furness out of the shadows and link it effectively with the wider tourist area-the Lakes. At most we are 16 miles away from the Lakes and yet we don't use that to draw in visitors. With our agenda we will hopefully begin to address this and begin to open up the tourism and energise the area once again.

Best of all-the Dock Museum have raised the full amount required for the purchase of the Viking Hoard which will be an amazing boost to tourism. This coupled with the abbot's ring and crosier at the abbey will be significant in drawing looks good for the future of Furness Heritage

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