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Joint Archive project in the running for Heritage Horizon Awards

Published: 27/02/2020

The Flintshire and Denbighshire Creative Archives project has been shortlisted for the Heritage Horizon Awards – with a chance to compete for a share of £50m.

The Creative Archives project is made up of three elements:

  • combining staff groups to work together as one cohesive team from April 2020;
  • building one state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly central facility housing the archives next to Theatr Clwyd in Mold;
  • delivering a ground breaking activity programme increasing the reach of archives to more and diverse people.

The proposed central facility is not confirmed, as an application for funding will need to be submitted and the outcome will not be known until next year.

Flintshire County Council’s Leader and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:

“It’s great news that this innovative project has made the shortlist and exciting that the NLHF has seen the potential for a cultural hub that will appeal to a wider audience and will attract visitors UK wide and globally into North Wales. Flintshire County Council is committed to and fully supportive of this project.

“The two archive services will combine from April this year, operating initially over two existing archive sites in The Old Rectory, Hawarden, and Ruthin Gaol, eventually moving into a new state-of-the-art facility.  Our heritage will be in better condition through state-of-the-art storage conditions, conservation and collections management spaces.”

Denbighshire County Council’s Lead Member for Housing and Communities, Councillor Tony Thomas, agrees. He said:

“This announcement is very welcome and testament to the hard work of our officers in both Denbighshire and Flintshire.  The use of historical documents and artefacts as the basis for storytelling and performance will be a distinctive and innovative part of the activity programme to engage a wider range of people who may never have considered visiting an archive before.

“The project will address problems with the current buildings – both are old listed buildings which do not meet industry standards, are expensive to maintain and have little scope for adaptation.” 

Subject to securing external funding, construction of the new building could commence in 2023 and the new building could be opened in 2025.

The whole project, including the design and construction of the building and money to improve and extend archive services provided to the public, is expected to cost in the region of £16.6 million. 70% of the total cost would potentially be met by a successful NLHF bid with the remaining 30% needing to be funded by the two Councils.

Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director and Chair of the HHA Panel at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:  

“We asked for ambitious, innovative and transformational projects, not just for heritage, but for people and communities too. The panel was really impressed and inspired by what it saw.?

“We’re very excited for the next stage of the process and will now work with the projects ahead of an application for development funding later this year.”

The twelve shortlisted projects have until November 2020 to apply for development funding, with decisions made in early 2021.  They will be applying for the first of two batches of £50m and have up to two years to submit delivery proposals, with full funding awards decided by The National Lottery Heritage Fund Board.



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