The ‘credit crunch’ has hit The Paper Trail, Hertfordshire’s award winning charity with a social, community and educational focus.
“Since opening our new Heritage Lottery funded Visitor Centre at Frogmore Mill, we were all set with exciting plans for the next phase of development,” said Jacky Bennett, the charity’s Chief Executive.
“To ensure our sustainability for the future and for the benefit of schools, community groups and disadvantaged people we support, we were planning to sell a strip of undeveloped land this year which would have supported our current projects and future initiatives. This global economic catastrophe has meant that we are unable to sell the land, bringing about uncertainty over the future of The Paper Trail”
“We have taken immediate action to rise to the challenge of saving a place of significant national heritage and of such social and educational importance to so many communities today by launching a fundraising appeal” said Peter Ingram, Founder and Chairman of The Paper Trail.
“Until the onset of this global credit crunch the future for The Paper Trail was looking so good. Frogmore Mill has a full order book for its 100% recycled paper, over 330 schools have joined ‘Recycle for Learning’ and are collecting waste paper for the Mill. More than 21,000 students, adults and family visitors have enjoyed hands-on experience and learning opportunities with us and we now employ 27 staff and have over 30 volunteers”
The campaign was launched on 19 November with an appeal to communities and business supporters and £26,000 has been pledged.
One such supporter is Adam Hart-Davis, writer and broadcaster, one of The Paper Trail’s patrons, who said: “You have my full support for your appeal. I urge anyone with an interest in paper and print to make some contribution, however small. My cheque will be in the post tomorrow.”
Many messages of support have also been received, one from Lady Verulam, The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. “I opened the Visitor Centre and was impressed by the project, both as a restoration of an important historical paper mill and its machinery, and also as a very good tour for the enjoyment and education of children and adults alike. If it can be rescued then it will continue to be a great benefit to the community. Good luck, I hope that you do succeed in the rescue.” Baroness Dean and Sir Nicholas Bacon (both patrons of the project) have also added their voices to encourage support for the appeal.
“We’re encouraged by the initial response” said Jacky Bennett. “Time, however, is against us - we need to raise at least £200,000 from this Appeal to keep this national industrial heritage treasure working and providing so many benefits for our local community and the paper media industries - if we fail in our Appeal then The Paper Trail could close and 200 years of national heritage would be lost forever”.
Anyone who would like to know more about the appeal or The Paper Trail can contact Jacky Bennett on 01442 234600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.thepapertrail.org.uk