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The Amelia Scott - a place for the whole community

Results of a recent visitor survey show that (of those that expressed a view) 77 per cent rated the experience overall as good or very good, and 79 per cent felt it was a place for the whole community.

The Amelia Scott combines cultural and learning activities and access to council services under one roof providing a much needed, focal point in the centre of the town. Community events, cultural exhibitions and permanent displays are a source of education, entertainment and cultural exposure for visitors. Regular visitors will know how popular events like the twice-weekly Baby Rhyme Time are, and alongside these sessions there has been a very varied programme of free and paid-for events.

Exhibitions like the Cabaret Mechanical Marvels, the summer reading challenge for young people and artisan markets have all drawn new visitors to the centre. Mechanical Marvels was a summer holiday exhibition in 2022 that welcomed 19,000 visitors, with a number of those being returning customers as families took advantage of this free, entertaining event during the school holidays.

During the financially challenging cold winter months The Amelia Scott offered a warm welcoming space and at Christmas time families could visit and meet Father Christmas at an affordable price or free if GO card holders. In summer it has become the place for many young people to prepare and revise for exams.

Visitors go on to do something else in the town

The Amelia Scott is also benefiting the borough as many visitors go on to do other things nearby including shopping and visiting restaurants/cafés.

Justine Rutland, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

We are so pleased to see how successful the Amelia Scott has been in its first year. The community has really embraced it as a place to visit and learn and have fun and find support. Given that 95 per cent of visitors go on to do something else in the town, we are confident that it also benefits local shops, businesses and the wider economy. During this second year of operation and beyond The Amelia Scott will continue to evolve and grow and put its marvellous collections in the spotlight.

Visitors to The Amelia Scott are mainly people living within the borough and nearly a quarter are from outside the borough with visitors from as far afield as Australia and Denmark. A quarter of people visit weekly and 30 per cent use three or more services when they visit. Over 4,000 school children have visited as part of planned school activities.

A sustainable building

The sustainability credentials of the building have also been demonstrated during the first year of operation.

Many of us are used to checking the weather forecast on our mobile devices and the same technology manages the rainwater harvesting tank which is buried beneath the buildings. The tank holds 15,000l and the water collected is used to reduce mains water consumption including using recycled water in the toilets and for watering the planters in the courtyard garden. In the first year the system has saved 364,800l of water.

The solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of the building have generated 37,869kWh of electricity – equal to powering 13 medium-size homes for a year – making the savings on electricity and water over £12,000.

Jayne Sharratt, Cabinet Member for Carbon Reduction and Sustainability, said:

It’s wonderful that as well as being a cultural and educational asset to the town, The Amelia Scott building produces its own energy, saves water and can even help prevent flooding in other parts of town. It’s an inspiring example of what we can achieve when we put sustainability at the heart of everything we do.

The Amelia Scott opened on 28 April 2022 and visitor numbers for the period to 31 March 2023 reached over 300,000. Separately the call centre dealt with more than 179,000 calls relating to council services. Totalling all the engagements with the centre they exceed 500,000.

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