Civic Society members have got a series of heritage and community funding bids off to a great start with a contribution of £100,000 towards ambitious plans to expand and extend Brampton Museum.

The popular visitor attraction has unveiled ambitious plans which include a new temporary exhibitions gallery, improved learning space and a research and volunteer room and the next steps, now underway, include the submission of funding bids to various other sources.

The Borough Council’s Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, Cllr Jill Waring, said: “This contribution from Newcastle’s Civic Society is absolutely fantastic and gives us such a positive start to our funding quest. The Civic Society’s members have always been strong advocates for the museum and we are so pleased to receive this contribution from them now. The museum is such an important part of the town’s attraction to visitors and we all want it to be sustainable for many years to come.”

Jim Worgan, the President of Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society, said: “We are so proud to be able to contribute to the fabulous plans to revamp the museum and gallery. To be honest, it’s a gem of a place and we have supported it in various ways for many years. We are also very pleased and proud that the new gallery space will be named after one of the stalwarts of the borough’s Civic Society, Jim Wain.”

In preparation for the anticipated refurbishment and new-build extension the museum at the Brampton will close to the public towards the end of May and will re-open once the works are completed.

During the refurbishment an ‘outpost’ will open in Lancaster Building to maintain a presence in the heart of the town while the work is carried out and staff from the museum will be running outreach programmes with schools and other community groups in the borough.

Cllr Waring added: “While we have the town centre museum outpost available to us we will provide information about the museum and its collections as well as the redevelopment plans and progress. The museum receives more than 60,000 visitors a year. Hopefully, raising the profile of the museum in this way will encourage lots more once it reopens. It’s a shame that we have to close the museum at Brampton Park for this short period while the construction and redevelopment work is carried out but we can’t take any risks with visitors or our staff, of course, and we have a responsibility to protect the precious items we have in our collection as well. It is only a temporary closure and this is a very exciting stage in the re-development of our beloved museum. The enhancements will bring it up to the standards of its contemporaries
and more.”

Decisions on the current funding applications are expected later this month and the application process will be ongoing as the various phases of the overall project evolve. More information is available at Brampton Museum, including the outline plans. There is also an opportunity for visitors to make a donation to the refurbishment fund.