A DOUBLE campaign has been launched by Lymington’s St Barbe museum to raise funds and boost public engagement.
The activity has twin aims of providing new services for those who currently have little or no contact with heritage and the arts, while at the same time reaching out to the wider community to raise funds to replace local and central government grants.
As part of the Reaching Further project, St Barbe is developing innovative work with children under five, school groups, teenagers with autism, people with dementia and socially isolated older people.
In the next few months it will start a community access panel which will include a range of disabled people to help improve their access and engagement.
A young curators panel is also being developed to help look at the museum collections with fresh eyes and develop services for young people.
Fundraising and sponsorship to replace lost government funding is seen as key to the success of the project, and there are a number of ways people can help.
These include the Inspire Fund which is a simple and inexpensive option that allows people to make regular small payments on a monthly basis; joining the Friends of St Barbe; sponsorship opportunities for business, or individuals; and leaving a gift in your will.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, St Barbe director Maria Ragan said: “St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, which is a registered charity, is a vital part of the cultural life in the region.
“We have ambitious plans to ‘Reach Further’ with a range of community outreach projects to bring these services and new initiatives to the wider community.
“As an independently run museum, St Barbe values the freedom that this brings, while appreciating the support we have received from local and national government that allowed us to build the fantastic new museum building, which is such a major asset for the town and the wider region.”
Museum chair John de Trafford said: “We are proud to have so many St Barbe Friends, patrons and business partners and we really value what they contribute to St Barbe.
“However, the big reduction in funding from local and national government that we have experienced since the new building opened, is putting all this at risk unless the local community can be encouraged to step in to help support St Barbe for future generations.
“We hope that the wider community will recognise the excellent work that St Barbe does for the town and will support this vital fundraising effort.”