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Hope for Bede's World; environment charity is locked in crucial talks over attraction's future.

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor @Hendrover

NEW hope has emerged for doomed heritage attraction Bede's World.

The Jarrow site closed in February and environmental charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle has been in talks with owner South Tyneside Council on taking over.

Andrew Watts, executive director of Groundwork STAN, said: "Groundwork has unparalleled knowledge and understanding of supporting and progressing key community initiatives in this region, and it is our vision to secure the site of Bede's World as a major tourist and historical attraction for many years to come."

Bede's World closed after the charitable trust which ran it went into liquidation.

But Groundwork has joined with Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums to work on plans for the site's future.

They say combining their skills will ensure the historical part of the venue, which includes a PS4m museum celebrating the life and work of 7th century scholar the Venerable Bede, is central to future plans.

Groundwork also confirmed it is in negotiations with South Tyneside Council, which after the closure reverted to controlling the site, with its Anglo-Saxon farm.

Mr Watts said: "Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums has invaluable experience of the successful and progressive management of venues and artefacts of great historical importance in the North East.

"We are in advanced negotiations with the council and during this period we are all committed to ensuring that essential maintenance to the site is ongoing and that those with a vested interest in the site are kept informed.

Huge "We look forward to being in a position to confirm when we are able to open our doors to the people of the North East and beyond."

Saturday Sunday 10am " Iain Watson, director of TWAM, said: "We are excited about sharing our expertise in collections care and interpretation in order to support Groundwork to ensure a successful future for the museum.

Come our beautiful "As deliverers of the region's museums development programme we are pleased that Groundwork STAN are committed to reopening Bede's World and maintaining access for the public to this significant collection and 98a heritage site."

Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: "Bede's World was an important cultural and heritage attraction, giving visitors a fascinating insight into Anglo Saxon life. "As we continue our work to put a new operator in place, the council is keen to make sure that the museum element of the site is protected and that Anglo Saxon life, and the Venerable Bede, remains at its heart.

"We continue to support Groundwork as it develops its plans for the site. It provides us with an ideal opportunity to reshape and improve the museum offer while ensuring Anglo Saxon times continue to be a strong element of the attraction."

Based at the Eco Centre in Hebburn, South Tyneside, Groundwork STAN operates the PS6.5m Beacon enterprise centre in Westgate Road, Newcastle, the PS5.4m One Trinity Green business centre in Eldon Street, South Shields, and West Boldon Lodge, an outdoor education centre in South Tyneside.

Andrew Watts, Alan Kerr and Iain Watson

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 6, 2016
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