Heart of England News

5 Years of Grow Cook Learn!

2019 celebrates 5 years of Grow Cook Learn!

Charles Edwards, Chair of Trustees of the Grow Cook Learn charity says: "2019 is going to be a huge year for the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms. In April we’ll be celebrating 5 years since the Grow Cook Learn charity took the big gamble of taking the Centre over from Shropshire Council, who could no longer finance its substantial costs".
Yes, we wanted the Centre to remain an important part of the local economy and community. Yes, we wanted to turn the Centre’s fortunes around to become sustainable without needing taxpayer support.  But above all we wanted to use the Centre to deliver the charity’s passion to connect people to the rich outdoor world around them; to enable visitors to enjoy experiencing, discovering, learning about and being inspired by our Shropshire Hills’ food, landscape, wildlife and history.
We’re proud of what we’ve achieved as a charity in five years of independence from  Shropshire Council: 100,000 visitors a year; fantastic educational experiences for children in term time and the holidays; a refreshed exhibition and film about the Shropshire Hills; improved cafe and shop; cookery classes including some for vulnerable adults; hosting some great events and walks; lots of little improvements to our facilities; a break-even stability where we are just covering our operating costs with our own income.
We’d like to thank the people of South Shropshire who have loyally visited and supported us; Connexus Housing Association who have helped the charity in so many ways to get us from the loss-making position we inherited to where we are now standing on our own feet; the staff who have worked so hard and endured pay reductions and redundancies to help keep the Centre going; the charity’s trustees and volunteers who have put in so much time and effort without receiving a penny; Craven Arms Town Council, Everybody Active, businesses (including Britpart, Associated Telecoms Solutions, Euro Quality Lambs and others), Ludlow Food Festival, Supporters and individuals whose financial contributions have paid for those little extras which our operating income wouldn’t stretch to.
We’re excited about how much more we could do to deliver our charitable mission and improve what we offer to visitors and the local community indoors and outside. So in 2019 we’ll be looking locally and beyond for investment for longer term development.
In 2019 we will also develop our community membership structure to enable local people to be more involved in what we do.
We’re not out of the woods yet, our financial situation is still fragile. But with what we’ve overcome and achieved over the last five years, we feel that the seeds we planted five years ago have germinated and we are now ready to grow something great and sustainable for the future.
Find out more information: http://www.shropshirehillsdiscoverycentre.co.uk