The £4 million to be received, subject to an approved sustainable business plan, will complete the new ‘First Light’ project fundraising goals of £20.5 million. The project aims to showcase the historic scientific work that has gone on at Jodrell Bank, as well as creating a new educational programme. It will build a new gallery that features an exhibition space and immersive auditorium.
The Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Professor Teresa Anderson, said: “This is fantastic news and provides the final piece in the jigsaw to enable us to move ahead with this very exciting project. We are very grateful to all our funders for their support and are looking forward to creating something very special to celebrate the history of this unique place.”
The Heritage Lottery Fund has given £12 million of funding to the ‘First Light’ project. It has attracted the support of the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Denise Coates Foundation, the University of Manchester Alumni and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Jodrell Bank is the home of BBC’s Stargazing: Live programme and already attracts 185,000 visitors annually. 26,000 of which are school pupils on educational visits. The ‘Light Project’ is anticipated to increase that number to 32,000.
The Cheshire site, which houses the famous Grade I listed Lovell telescope, has also been recently selected as a UK candidate for a UNESCO World Heritage status. If successful, it would join 31 other sites in the UK, and many more around the world.
First used in 1945 by Sir Andrew Lovell, Jodrell Bank has since been instrumental in the advancement of radio astronomy, the observation of radio waves in space. These waves are often invisible in normal light, and so can give a new view of space and celestial bodies that cannot normally be detected.
Professor Anderson adds: “I’d like to place on record my thanks to David Rutley MP who has been tireless in his support for our plans.”