Visitors centre reopens as ‘hub’ for locals
HATHERLEIGH Visitors Information Centre has reopened in time for the summer, with its new coordinators pledging that it will be as much for locals as for visitors.
Donna Lewis and Kay Walters, pictured, have taken on the shop in the town square, and have spent the past three weeks giving it a whirlwind makeover and refit.
They held a little ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion on Saturday morning.They are dedicating it to Charles Dumpleton, who sadly passed away earlier this year. He was one of the founders of the visitors centre as part of the Ruby Country initiative after the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 which helped the local farming and tourist industries.
Kay said: ‘The town council has given us a grant for a year to get it going again. Charles has his photo in there because he was very much a founding father of Ruby Country and the visitors centre.’
Kay and Donna are both town councillors but are taking on the shop as a separate mission
‘We decided we would take it on and it has been a whirlwind three weeks getting it ready,’ said Donna. ‘ We have literally painted the whole shop and we have changed the whole layout.
‘We are introducing new things, walks, letterboxing for the children and we will have work on display by a local artist which will change each month. The first one will be Jo Monger, who does prints and takes photos. It will gives people an opportunity to have their work on display.
She added: ‘The town council have given us a grant for a year to try and make it viable to continue after that.
‘We just feel it is a vital part of Hatherleigh really. Charles started it off after the foot and mouth crisis and we feel it needs to continue as a community hub.
It will be not just for visitors but for people who have lived here for years, who still don’t know walks they can do. We want to have these maps with walks that are dog friendly or pushchair friendlyp. It is about encouraging everyone in town to use the hub for information and activities. And we will also be selling ice creams, so we hope that will encourage people in when they are at this end of town!’
The visitors centre is open from 10am–4pm Monday to Saturday.
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