Extra £200,000 for seven-figure revamp of Sunderland’s National Glass Centre

James Bustard, director of the National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland, which is currently closed for refurbishment.
James Bustard, director of the National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland, which is currently closed for refurbishment.
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GLASS Centre bosses are celebrating securing an extra £200,000 towards transforming the venue.

The money comes on top of the £2million already invested in helping create a cultural centre of international standing on the banks of the Wear.

The transformation is already well under way, and hopes are high the finished venue will play a key role in strengthening the wider cultural appeal of the city.

A £100,000 donation, announced today, comes courtesy of the Sir James Knott Trust, but because the centre is a recipient of the Arts Council England’s Catalyst programme, that money will be matched pound for pound.

The investment will contribute towards the transformation currently taking place at the centre, which was taken over by the University of Sunderland in 2010.

The work will see major improvements to the venue’s gallery and learning spaces. It will also contribute to the cost of the addition of new electric furnaces in the integrated Hot Glass Studio, which will improve the centre’s environmental sustainability and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

The new exhibition spaces, which will showcase the origins of glass, the growth of the glass industry and the legacy of glass-making in Sunderland, will also help boost the centre’s visitor numbers.

James Bustard, director of the centre, said: “This investment strengthens further the commitment made by our partners at Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Foyle Foundation.

“The redevelopment also reinforces the centre’s reputation for excellence and enables us to play a major role in the growing cultural landscape of Sunderland as well as celebrate the city’s rich glass-making heritage.

“Everyone involved in the redevelopment is thoroughly enthused about the reopening in the summer and about its future success.”

Vivien Stapley, Trust Secretary with the Sir James Knott Trust, said: “Our founder had a significant connection with Sunderland and the River Wear. The Trust is delighted to be able to support this redevelopment.”