“Red letter day, rising like a phoenix, a new dawn”!!

Whatever the cliché, nothing can really express the joy and satisfaction felt at the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded our project £12.8m!!! This, together with other funding streams, will ensure that our dreams and aspirations can be realised so that this internationally important historic site can be retained and transformed into a centre for learning, leisure, creativity, enjoyment and business enterprise.

The enormous investment will bring very significant regeneration to the area and its on-going impact will also be felt throughout Shrewsbury and Shropshire.

An exciting and innovative interpretation centre, managed by the Friends, will take over the ground floor of the Main Mill while the other 4 floors will be transformed into commercial premises with modern infrastructure, whilst retaining their basic character.

The Dye House will provide learning spaces and opportunities, flexible space for meetings performances, exhibitions films or social functions, architectural soft play, and a high quality café. This wonderful, flexible community orientated facility will be managed by the Friends.

The Kiln will be transformed into an impressive and inspiring concourse for the whole site and incorporate reception, conference and meeting rooms alongside interpretation areas.

The Jubilee Tower will be restored and opened up to provide visitors with rooftop views of the Flax Mill Maltings and panoramic views across Shropshire.

Furthermore, we all anticipate that this announcement will serve to stimulate great interest from developers who will wish to play a role in the completion of the Masterplan for the surrounding areas.

All involved in the project are clear that the role of the Friends has been critical to the bid’s success this time round. Massive appreciation must go to the Board, Committee and volunteers of the Friends for their hard work and initiative over 3 years and more recently to the invaluable efforts of our staff team, Lisa and Fay. Many thanks also to those who, while not so actively involved, have provided much needed support.

You will hear a lot from me in future as the project proceeds with Wates, the contractor, coming on site to start preliminary works in September and full scale construction fro January. Therefore, I’d like to close with a quote from Reyahn King, Head of HLF West Midlands:

“I can’t think of a better use of Heritage Lottery Fund money than to celebrate and reuse our industrial past in such a well-thought out and exciting project.”

Alan Mosley, Chair of the Friends.