Clare Castle Country Park awarded £47,000 funding boost to go towards new multi-purpose visitor centre
Clare Castle Country Park is hoping to maximise its visitor experience with a new multi-purpose facility, thanks to a significant funding boost.
A grant of £47,652 has been awarded to the park by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which will help to fund an education, training and volunteer centre, with work set to begin in January.
Geoffrey Bray, chairman of Clare Castle Country Park trustees, said the new facility will enable visitors to gain further insight into the history of the site, which surrounds the remains of a 11th century castle.
“It’s going to be an education centre where people will be able to learn about things related to the park,” he said.
A wide range of courses will be run at the centre for visitors of all ages.
Mr Bray said he hoped the new facility would provide both health and social benefits for visitors.
“Some people don’t get out that much, so it will be a great opportunity for them to socialise,” he said.
Since the trust took over management of the park in 2015, after ownership was passed to Clare Town Council, Mr Bray said it had seen a sharp rise in park users.
“We have increased the number of visitors by 30 per cent and, with the other opportunities we’ll be offering, we can increase it by another 25 per cent,” he said. “People will have a more interesting experience.”
The trust was awarded a £1.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year to help fulfil a string of refurbishment projects, which they had initially hoped would cover the cost of the new centre.
“There wasn’t enough money to cover that, but, fortunately, we have been successful this time,” he said.
A forest school will be operating at the new facility, with interactive sessions for youngsters aged from three to five.
Educational sessions, which are hosted at the park, enable school students to gain key group skills, including outdoor cooking.