Congratulations to Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust on winning the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Historic England Heritage Angels event. Described by Sir John Betjeman as ‘the most beautiful pier in England’, this award was in recognition of the stunning new Visitor Centre facilities and interpretation display area in the original refurbished toll house. This was set up to provide high quality visitor facilities and generate additional income to maintain this outstanding community asset on past its 150th year. In addition, the pier management team has been strengthened and a Heritage and Outreach Officer and a Community Engagement Officer are now employed.
Many sources of funding were used for the Visitor Centre project. Securing funding required immense efforts from several of the Trustees (working alongside a heritage consultant for some of the time) in producing applications and submissions.
In parallel with the construction, the Trust decided to embark upon a Community Share Offer which required that it should convert to a Community Benefit Society. The Share Offer ran between August 2015 and January 2016 and raised over £250,000 from over 1,100 local members plus an investment of £80,000 from ourselves, the Architectural Heritage Fund. We were also delighted to help the project with a loan of £140,000, just as we were back in 1990 when a loan of £110,000 helped meet the costs of the original restoration work that brought the pier back from the brink of collapse.
The Heritage Angel Awards were founded by Andrew Lloyd Webber and are co-funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Since 2011 these annual awards have celebrated the efforts of local people who have saved historic buildings and places.
Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of the AHF said, “I am so thrilled Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust has deservedly won the People’s Choice Heritage Angel Award, the only award voted for by the public. Historic piers are such an important but fragile part of our heritage, and their future can often only be saved by the extraordinary dedication of local volunteers. I am so pleased the Trust has been recognised in this way – an outstanding effort over a very long time. The Community Share issue has been a triumph, raising not only money but also the long-term commitment of local people through their collective ownership of the Pier. I do hope other heritage organisations will take inspiration from the Trust’s remarkable endeavours”