TOURIST bosses are hoping for a boost in visitor numbers after a landmark building was granted more than £2million in funding.
Bosses at Sunderland’s National Glass Centre will use the cash for a re-development programme which started when the centre closed on January 1 and is due for completion in the summer.
The centre landed a grant from the Arts Council England’s Large Capital programme of £750,000, £337,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £50,000 from the Foyle Foundation.
The University of Sunderland has also invested £975,000 in the attraction.
The £2.25million redevelopment project will see improvements made to the centre’s gallery and learning spaces.
It will also contribute to the cost of new electric furnaces in the Centre’s Hot Glass Studio, which it is hoped will improve its environmental sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint.
James Bustard, director of the National Glass Centre, said: “We are delighted that our partners at Arts Council England, The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Foyle Foundation have recognised the great potential of the National Glass Centre and invested so significantly in its future.
“This investment will strengthen the centre’s reputation for excellence and enable us to play a major role in the growing cultural landscape of the city of Sunderland and celebrate the city’s rich glass-making heritage.”
Redevelopment will also focus on a new heritage gallery.
New exhibition spaces will showcase the legacy of glass-making in Sunderland and help boost visitor numbers.
John Kelly, public health, wellness and culture councillor at Sunderland City Council, said: “Our city is very proud of its cultural heritage and delighted at this investment into the National Glass Centre.
“We hope that the redevelopment of such an important venue will help attract even more people into Sunderland to learn more about our past and our ambitious plans for the future.”
Professor Peter Fidler, vice-chancellor of the University of Sunderland, added: “National Glass Centre is such an important cultural venue for Sunderland and the wider North East region. We have been supported with this vision by a range of people and organisations.
“The new National Glass Centre is benefiting from £2.25million-worth of investment. Investment that will indeed raise the profile of the centre regionally, and nationally.”