The campaign to develop the new Discovery Centre at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is set to enter its most important phase this week with an appeal to the public to help raise £1/2 million towards the project. Over £21/2 million has already been secured from private, trust and European funding.
With dedicated space for education, learning, and enjoyment, the new Centre will provide Rye Harbour Nature Reserve with a facility to match its national and international importance for wildlife and migrating birds. For years, it has struggled with a single, small information room, which was even submerged in the 2013 floods at the Reserve.
Launching the public fundraising campaign at a special event at Fairlight Hall, the stately home looking directly over Rye Harbour from Hastings, Sussex Wildlife Trust Chairman Carole Nicholson said: “The Discovery Centre is very much a people’s project. It was inspired by people asking for it to be built. It has been designed with people very much in mind. And we’re now asking people to support our work and contribute towards our fundraising for it.”
Her views were echoed at the launch by Graham Peters, Vice-Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, the key regional body responsble for driving economic growth in the region. “The visitor economy is vital for our rural and coastal areas, but to thrive they need investment. Projects like the Discovery Centre at Rye Harbour are hugely important – for jobs, for skills, and to put East Sussex and Kent firmly on the map for its stunning scenery and amazing wildlife.”
The launch of the public appeal is a major step towards the campaign reaching its £4m target, according to Appeal Board Chairman Alastair Fairley. “We may be two-thirds of the way towards reaching our goal, but we can’t build the Discovery Centre without the public’s help.”
“When people visit the Reserve we want them to feel they’re part of its future – of engaging young people in nature, to look after our planet, and inspire the next generation to treasure this special part of the world. I hope people will rally to that cause and donate, raise funds, and support our campaign to create something our region can rightly be proud of.”
Anyone wanting to donate to the fundraising campaign can do so by visiting https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/rhdcdonate . You can also subscribe to a regular newsletter about the campaign to keep you up to date with news and events being planned by visiting: https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/rhdcenews