SEATON JURASSIC, the new exciting visitor attraction for East Devon, has secured another huge funding boost with today’s announcement of the award of more than £620,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This second stage award - £56,500 was given to the project in 2013 – will be used for interpretation inside the centre taking the visitor on a unique journey back in time to experience the story of evolution, wildlife and geology.
People of all ages will then find themselves ‘shrunk’ to the size of a creature inside a giant rockpool and enjoy marine life under the sea under different tidal conditions. Finally, visitors will go outside to explore a number of exhibitions at their own pace as water cascades above them. Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council’s cabinet member for economy, said “This is tremendous news for Seaton Jurassic, for the town and the region.
This HLF grant is the final piece of the complex funding jigsaw and means we can move ahead on our exciting interpretation plans. The centre will be highly engaging and interactive with the visitor learning more about the area’s natural and marine heritage. We hope people of all ages will touch, collect, watch, learn and laugh during their visit.
"I would like to congratulate the team who worked so hard to achieve this significant grant and thank the HLF for showing such confidence in the project.”
Work will start on the site at The Underfleet this summer with the centre opening late in 2015. Seaton Jurassic has now secured almost £4million of funding with contributions from East Devon District Council, Devon County Council, Seaton Town Council, Heritage Lottery Fund Coastal Communities Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and Fine Family Foundation.
A number of other charitable donations are pending. Planning consent for the project was approved in June 2013.
Harry Barton, chief executive Devon Wildlife Trust who will manage the centre, said “The Jurassic Coast is an international jewel, and the landscape around Seaton is one of the very best bits of it.
Seaton Jurassic is all about telling the greatest story ever – the incredible journey of life over millions of years, and how this has led to the amazing wildlife and the equally astonishing array of rocks and fossils that we see today. I am really excited that Devon Wildlife Trust is going to play a key part in such a fantastic project.”
Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund for the South West, said: “Seaton has a terrific marine environment which, thanks to the displays and information to be included in this centre, as well as enthusiastic support from local volunteers, can be showcased and explained to an increasing number of visitors.”
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's cabinet member for environment, said: "This scheme is a great example of what can be achieved through committed partnership working and the funding from HLF is recognition of the importance of this project.
"The visitor centre will be an exciting prospect for Devon and will add to the experience offered further along the Jurassic Coast. It will be great for Seaton, and for visitors to the area, and will highlight what makes our World Heritage Coast so unique."
Seaton Jurassic has benefited from tremendous support locally with the Seaton Visitor Centre Trust and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage team campaigning for many years. Local people will be key to the centre’s success going forward with opportunities to be involved as volunteers, fundraisers and ambassadors.
Gaynor Sedgwick, Seaton Town Council’s Chairman and Mayor added “I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund bid has been successful and the long awaited Jurassic Coast visitors centre is going to be built in Seaton.
"This wonderful attraction will undoubtedly increase visitor numbers and encourage visitors to explore our beautiful coastline and beach and discover how much Seaton has to offer. In addition it will offer employment and business opportunities for the town.
"Seaton Town Council thanks all those who have worked so hard over the years to get to this point, and HLF for having confidence in the project and Seaton.”