Volunteers from Trust take over port museum

Keith and Sue Porter, of Fleetwood Museum Trust, are toasting confirmation that the Trust will officially take over the running of the museum.
Keith and Sue Porter, of Fleetwood Museum Trust, are toasting confirmation that the Trust will officially take over the running of the museum.

A volunteer trust is to officially take over Fleetwood Museum two years after it was threatened with closure.

Fleetwood Museum Trust will run the show from next month, taking over from cash-strapped Lancashire County Council.

County Coun Peter Buckley

County Coun Peter Buckley

The move, which follows negotiations over the past two years, has now been made official after the County Council’s cabinet agreed to the Trust taking over the museum operation.

The formal legal transfer is set to be completed on April 1.

The doors will be reopened by the volunteers at 10.30am on Tuesday March 27, in time to take advantage of the Easter school holidays.

Fleetwood Museum was one of five council-run museums which faced closure due to cutbacks.

Councillor Terry Rogers.

Councillor Terry Rogers.

But a rescue package for the port amenity was mounted by the Trust thanks to funding from Fleetwood Town Council, which has raised £66,000 a year since 2016, through extra council tax payments.

Sue Porter, from the Fleetwood Museum Trust, said: “I’m thrilled that we are able to take over the running of this fabulous museum.

“We have been very hands-on with the day-to-day running of the museum for a while now, and are delighted that this has now been formalised.

“We’ve been able to keep all the existing collection on display, so there is certainly much to see.”

She added: “We couldn’t have made it without Fleetwood Town Council and the small contribution that every Fleetwood resident has made.”

County Coun Peter Buckley, County’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “The county council has been working hard to ensure the museums are once again available to the public, with our efforts focused on talking with organisations which have expressed an interest in taking them on.

“In the meantime we’ve continued to maintain the collections and buildings.

“I’m delighted that the legal agreement to transfer the operation of the museum from the county council to the Fleetwood Museum Trust is almost complete.

“It is good news that the first transfer deal is nearly finalised and it therefore makes good business sense to ensure the museum can attract visitors over Easter.

“This museum has outstanding historical significance and is Lancashire’s permanent reminder of its long-standing sea fishing heritage.

“It seems entirely appropriate that the volunteers from the Trust take on the responsibility of running the museum formally. “They have been doing a great job keeping it open for a while now and I’ve no doubt that this experience will help them to run it very successfully when they take it on entirely in a few weeks’ time.”

And Coun Terry Rogers, chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, said: “The Town Council is proud to have lent support.

“We are the first town council in the country to help save an under-threat museum, and the people of Fleetwood have played their part too.

“It has been a long time in being finalised, but it is worth the wait.”

The museum has been kept operational by the Trust since April 14 last year, and the Trust has provided volunteers and activities at the museum since 2007.

After opening at 10.30am on 27 March, the museum will then be open every day from 10.30am to 4pm until Saturday April 7.

The museum will then be open from Tuesday to Saturday, on Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays and for special Sunday events - including the Fleetwood Transport Festival and the Folk Festival, from 10.30am to 4pm until the end of November.

To contact the Fleetwood Museum Trust call (01253) 876621.

Alternatively contact Keith Porter, Museum Trust Chairman, on 07885 375304.

For more information about Lancashire museums visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums