In 2011, we opened the first phase of the new visitor facilities at Jodrell Bank.
Around £3million funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the then North West Development Agency was used to create our Planet Pavilion and Space Pavilion, as well as regenerating access to the Jodrell Bank Gardens.
By August 2014, we were receiving around 140,000 visitors per year (up from 55,000 a year in 2010), including around 16,000 school children taking part in our high calibre Education Programme.
Our huge rise in visitor numbers was stretching our capacity to welcome people, so in 2014 we began work on a new building, the Star Pavilion. We are very grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for funding this project, which is due for completion in early 2015. The new building will allow us to expand our Education Programme still further, supporting us in our aim to ‘inspire the scientists of the future’. We are still seeking funding for aspects of this building, as we hope to install some exciting exhibits in the space when it is not being used for our Education Programme.
So far, we have been able to secure funding that supports us in engaging people with the science of Jodrell Bank. Two challenges that we are yet to meet are
- Engaging people with the Heritage of Jodrell Bank.
- Engaging people with the science of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) which has its International Headquarters at Jodrell Bank.
We are working on the first of these at the moment.
Jodrell Bank is home to the Grade 1 listed Lovell Telescope and is also on the UK shortlist for UNESCO World Heritage Site status so it is important that we match this high level of recognition with a high level of care for the site and of public involvement in its activities.
At present we are developing a formal Conservation Management Plan for Jodrell Bank as a whole and we are also preparing requests to funders for their support in both conserving the fabric of the site and involving communities in engaging with its heritage.