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Tide Mill doubles visitor numbers


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    AfSM Newsletter, Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, Carbon Charter, DDFAS, Deben Decorative & Fine Arts Society, Eling Tide Mill, Events, Exhibition, Frazer Hale, Free Opening, Gingerbread Easter Trail 2016, Heritage Lottery Fund, Maritime Woodbridge, Mill restoration, National Mills Weekend, Nigel Barratt, Paddy Bishopp, Pop Up Restaurant, Press, Quiz Night, Robert Simper, Schools, Shuck Launch Party, Summer Trail, The Cake Shop Woodbridge, The Moon over the Water, The River Deben, Tide Mill Flour, Tide Mill Guide, Tide Mill Newsletter, Tide Mill Warden, Vernon Blackmore, Volunteers required, Woodbridge Regatta, Woodbridge Riverside Trust, Woodbridge Shuck, Woodbridge Tide Mill, Young Arts project
     

    Tide Mill doubles visitor numbers resized 8_3_16 (1)

    Woodbridge Tide Mill’s new lease of life thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding and a decade of hard work


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    AfSM Newsletter, Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, Carbon Charter, DDFAS, Deben Decorative & Fine Arts Society, Eling Tide Mill, Events, Exhibition, Frazer Hale, Free Opening, Gingerbread Easter Trail 2016, Heritage Lottery Fund, Maritime Woodbridge, Mill restoration, National Mills Weekend, Nigel Barratt, Paddy Bishopp, Pop Up Restaurant, Press, Quiz Night, Robert Simper, Schools, Shuck Launch Party, Summer Trail, The Cake Shop Woodbridge, The Moon over the Water, The River Deben, Tide Mill Flour, Tide Mill Guide, Tide Mill Newsletter, Tide Mill Warden, Vernon Blackmore, Volunteers required, Woodbridge Regatta, Woodbridge Riverside Trust, Woodbridge Shuck, Woodbridge Tide Mill, Young Arts project
     

    Tidal-MillsWhen in 2004, Fred Reynolds moved on from the successful renovation project of Tide Mill Quay to thinking about improving the Tide Mill, no-one thought that it would be over 13 years before the Mill restoration project was completed.  Fred worked incredibly hard in planning the project for 4 years up to the beginning of 2008 when the first bid for Heritage Lottery Fund assistance was submitted.  Unfortunately that failed to attract support, so Fred continued to work on a new bid.

    But he felt he was unable to continue, and the present Chairman of Trustees, Nigel Barratt, took over management of the project.  Between 2008 and 2010, he substantially re-worked the project, wrote the second Heritage Lottery bid, and coordinated the raising of the additional funds necessary to secure Lottery funding.   By late 2010 this second bid with a fully funded project had worked through what had become a two stage bid process and in early 2011, the Heritage Lottery Fund let the Trust know the good news that it had succeeded.

    Nigel had been sufficiently confident of success that planning had continued through the winter of 2010/11, so that the Trust was able make an early start on the major part of the renovations work.  This ensured that only the 2011 season was lost, and by Easter 2012 Woodbridge Tide Mill was re-opened with much of this work completed.

    But it was a four year project and more needed to be done.   Bringing it into use as an authentic working mill producing a healthy stoneground wholemeal flour meant learning the skills of milling with grinding stones, and building visitor interest meant a lot of additional work.   Projects were planned with local primary schools and in 2015 alone upwards of 1,000 children visited the Mill with more reached by taking talks about the mill into schools.

    Bringing 225 year old machinery back into use, when much of it had last been worked around 70 years ago brought its own challenges, and a fast learning curve into traditional millwrighting by Nigel and the maintenance volunteers was needed.

    None of this could have been achieved without the support of the many active volunteers working in the Mill.    There are currently 42 such willing workers putting in their own time and effort to help keep the Mill going from strength to strength.  While this is a fantastic number, more are always needed.  Foremost amongst these is Dr Robert Spillett, currently vice-chairman of the Trust who also goes back into the early part of the project, developing, amongst other things, many of the activities that has helped make it a success.

    Nigel commented, “If you had asked me 8 or 9 years ago to devote what will be soon approaching 10 years of my life to restoring and developing Woodbridge Tide Mill I’m not sure what my reaction would have been, but it has turned into an incredibly satisfying journey”.   He went on “it’s the involvement of the volunteers that has been so deeply gratifying, as without them it just wouldn’t work, and I have made new friends in the process”.

    An evaluation report has been lodged with the Heritage Lottery Fund, which shows that everything that was set out to be done has been successfully completed; numbers of visitors have more than doubled from levels prior the restoration, and, at nearly 45,000 people to date, has comfortably beaten the projections at the time of the bid.  Not only that, but the project has been brought in under budget, and the future of the Mill is reasonably safe for the foreseeable future.

    Nigel went on “Visitors tell us they come to Woodbridge because they’ve heard of the Tide Mill, and if we’ve ensured that this iconic building plays a big part in keeping Woodbridge on the map, then it’s an added bonus”.