September 20 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, March 20, 2014
One of Suffolk’s biggest tourist attractions has received a major boost with a £100,000 loan to increase its sustainability, the EADT understands.
The Museum of East Anglian Life (MEAL), in Stowmarket, has been promised the money by Mid Suffolk District Council, according to its interim director Nick Winterbotham.
The money would be on top of the existing £20,000 a-year it receives from the authority.
District council leader Derrick Haley said the museum is a key part to the area’s economy.
He said: “There is no way we would not support MEAL – it’s an important asset to Stowmarket.
“We would not in any shape or form not support it because it’s an integral part of the economy.
“We would not wish to see anything happen to MEAL that would be to the detriment of the Stowmarket area.”
Mr Winterbotham said it was the museum’s level of engagement with the community which meant it continued to have the support of the council which “believes in what it does”.
“We completely welcome that level of support and long may it last and long may we supply something that is of value in the same way,” he said.
“They are being really supportive. I guess it relates to having a long-term relationship. We see all councils as being a partner, as much a part of what they do and what we do.”
He said the museum would remain a charity but would become more business focused to generate more turnover.
The museum is currently going thought a transition period, which means it is likely to see its council grants reduced in the future, he added.
Bosses at the 75-acre heritage site are working to broaden the appeal of the museum by putting on major events and enabling it to host weddings.
The loan can begin to be paid back after two years, Mr Winterbotham said.
On Sunday it will host Stowmarket Day, where visitors can enter at the equivalent price to that of a 1967 ticket.