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Heritage Centre News

Christmas Message 2023


Read the whole story here

Autumn Update 2023


A large number of museums, especially small, independent rural museums, run as charitable organisations, like KHC, closed their doors during the pandemic, and many of them may never reopen. For some, it was because they had nothing left in the bank to cover their ever-increasing costs of even opening the doors. For others, it was because they lost their volunteers.

At KHC, we had a different set of problems, but we've been fortunate to be able to pay for all the new infrastructure that needed to be put in place through various grants and generous benefactors. And as I have previously mentioned, we have a great set of new and former volunteers driving us towards our reopening. I want to express our thanks to our most recent benefactors.

In July, we received an award from the East Midlands Airport Community Fund, which has enabled us to install a new alarm system. This includes both burglar alarms and smoke detection devices. The alarm is monitored, ensuring a police response in the event of a break-in. Please don't attempt to put it to the test!

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We'd also like to thank Amazon UK Services Ltd., who have donated brand new display boards, which have been installed and their contents already planned and currently being created.

We still have much to do, but more pieces of the jigsaw I alluded to back in the summer are falling into place daily. The challenges that looked insurmountable in the past are becoming more manageable, and our confidence grows. Some of our volunteers have engaged family members to support us; thanks to Geoff Powell, Steve Yates and John Wood for rolling up their sleeves, quite literally at times, and getting stuck in with some of the heavy-duty activities that occasionally stand in our way.

Our finances continue to be tight, but careful management by our treasurer, John Billett, ensures that our cash flow is still under control and we can see out the continued cost of living crisis. We will continue to try and pay for improvements through grants, but operational costs will still need to be met from our reserves until we can start to bring in new sources of funding - and we are already thinking about opportunities.

In addition to the appointments we made in our last announcement, Diane Powell has now taken on the new role of Chief Archivist in addition to her role as a trustee. One of Diane's key tasks will be to bring some sense of order to the hundreds (thousands?) of documents in our possession and to provide her expertise and knowledge to our volunteers as we start to label the artefacts chosen for display to help visitors understand more about them.

We still need more volunteers! In certain organisations, there becomes a point where throwing more people at a problem does more harm than good. That's not the case with us! Our current volunteers need some support, both mentally and physically! In return, they will teach you about resilience, passion and extraordinary commitment. And we really need to get some younger members of our community involved. If you'd like to help out or you know someone who might be interested, please let us know! We will hold another volunteering day early in 2024, but there's no time like the present to get involved!

Spring/Summer Update 2023


There’s simply too much to talk about in this little section. But we’ve got really exciting news…read the whole story here

Spring 2023 - KHC Community Survey

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We’ve had a really good response to the 2023 Community Survey and as promised we’ve published the results and our our analysis and conclusions. You can read all about it here.

The survey will remain open for a while longer and if there are a significant number of extra responses we’ll re-review the results and update the findings. You can access the survey here.

Brenda Moore Obituary - February 2023

Please click here to read our tribute to the late Brenda Moore - one of the original founders and trustees of the Kegworth Village Association and Kegworth Museum.

Gordon Knocked Our Socks Off (Well one sock…)


Following our recent appeal for volunteers, village resident Gordon Steel came forward to restore the Griswold circular sock machine that we have in the Heritage Centre. The machine is over 100 years old and complete with its equipment. Many ladies in the village would make socks with Griswold machines mounted on their kitchen tables whilst the children were at school.

Gordon has fully restored the machine and it has now produced a sock, the first for over 60 years. We hope that the machine can be demonstrated at an open day in the future.

Gordon became interested in circular sock machines about seven years ago and is interested in restoring others. So if you have a similar looking machine in your loft, in the cellar or under the stairs please contact him on gordsteel@hotmail.com. He is also after any ancillary equipment, so if you have items that appear in the third photo please get in touch with him also.

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2023 New Year Message


Happy New Year, albeit a little belated! I really intended to post a message before Christmas, but there was so much going on, that I decided to wait until we had some positive news to report. We had really high hopes for 2022 after the disappointments of the previous few years. Although we have been really hard at work we still didn’t meet the goal we’d set to get to open even briefly in our thirtieth anniversary year. After repeated disappointments in trying to get the centre reopened, we’ve been resilient enough to regroup and replan, and the improvements that we continue to invest in and implement will make the opening all the better, even if it has slipped.

Financially, we are finally on an even footing, which has enabled us to continue with our significant infrastructure improvements. I promised to personally inject a significant amount of capital into KHC this year and I was good to my word. This enabled us to completely overhaul the electrical systems with the museum, including a new consumer unit, new lighting, trunking and power points, and critically, new emergency lighting which was a major blocker in being able to open. This work will be completed by mid-January and our electrician has done an outstanding job, above and beyond our requirements.

We also successfully applied for a grant from MDEM (Museum Development East Midlands) that we needed to partially match and were able to do so, without drawing down against our existing capital. This grant is being used to revamp and refresh the entrance and reception area, with new furniture, blinds, notice boards and signage, both interior and exterior. This room will form the basis of a small retail outlet in due course.

I sometimes wonder whether there is a curse on the Kegworth Heritage Centre! We immediately encountered a problem with the external sign, despite it being a replacement to show off our KHC logo, and actually a safer option than that which we currently have. Having cleared the change with the local heritage officer, we were advised that we still needed planning permission, which has cost £170 pounds just to submit. Our initial submission was rejected on a technicality and has now been resubmitted! Fortunately, this is a nice to have item rather than a necessity, but it is still frustrating knowing that both big organisations and much smaller concerns have blatantly ignore planing regulations and gone ahead regardless. And got away with it!

Our biggest problem remains our lack of people. I am incredibly grateful to the few people who have offered to help and I promise we will get in touch with you in the New Year. We are now down to three trustees, as unfortunately Katie had to step back for personal reasons. Our opportunities to get together in person are hampered by our physical circumstances. But, we are working on a few things to try and get people re-engaged with the centre. We will hold a volunteering open day where we can speak to potential volunteers in person and outline our vision and plans. This is planned for early March, so please watch out for further information if you are interested in volunteering. In addition to our need to find a Secretary, we really need someone who can join us as a Creative Director to help us realise our vision. Whilst the trustees are not short of ideas, we don’t have someone who can take ownership of making these ideas into the story of Kegworth that we can share in the Heritage Centre. We don’t want to be a static representation of Kegworth’s history.

Our most immediate requirement is to digitally re-catalogue the collection and to start to rebuild the displays. This is vital as part of our goal for getting reaccredited as a museum, which in turn will open up sources of funding that are currently closed to us. Again, this is an activity where we will need people to help us, and it would be a unique opportunity for people to understand what’s in the Collection and how to manage it. To that end, we are also looking for a Collections Manager to oversee this whole activity.

2023 is going to be another pivotal year in our history. For once, it’s refreshing not to be begging for money as we’re becoming better at putting business cases together, especially on the back of our success with the MDEM grant and we are working with them to find further assistance in fund-raising. But, without people who are willing to put in time and energy we are going to continue to struggle. I can assure you that three people is not enough to operate a museum let alone to get it back up to a state where it can be reopened and make it the community resource that we want it to be.

After another turbulent year in 2022, let’s look forward to a fresh start in 2023 and see this as a year of opportunity and fulfilment


Ally Gill, Acting Chair KHC,
Prague - January 10th, 2023


KHC VISION and DEVELOPMENT PLAN


In many of the posts I create here on the website I make reference to the ‘Vision’ that we have for the Kegworth Heritage Centre. I’ve spent the past forty years working either directly for big corporations or consulting with them. I’ve even written Vision and Mission Statements for some of them. But when I talk about the Vision for KHC, I’m talking about much more than a few glib phrases that employees struggle to remember and certainly can’t often relate to.

When I joined the board of trustees in 2018 one of the first things I was given was a copy of the new KHC Development Plan, which was written by John Billett, our treasurer then and now. I was impressed with both the depth and breadth of the concept but at the same time, a little concerned by its ambition. We’ve been through a few iterations of the plan since then, and I’m amazed at how much we’ve achieved. Even more so, given that we have spent two years in a global pandemic and have seen our staffing levels reduced to three trustees, with a little support from their partners and friends.

But, back to the vision. I’ve created a summary which you can look at and download to share with other people. I’d like to think that some of the ideas resonate with you, like they did with me, and that you might be tempted to put your hands up and be counted. Just like I was. I’m going to go even further, and put my money where my mouth is. We still have to make some significant capital expenditure on some infrastructure work but this would wipe out most of our funds. We are applying for grants but this is time consuming and with no guarantee of success. So I have committed to making the money available to KHC from my own funds. Not only will this enable the work to proceed without undue delay, it will also demonstrate the commitment of the board to potential donors and grant awarding bodies.

Last month, we launched our campaign to start rebuilding our volunteer base with some Facebook posts linking to the website, which have largely fallen on deaf ears. (Since I first drafted this, we have had two people expressing an interest to join us!) We need to accelerate and boost this effort, because, quite frankly, we can do almost nothing without a group of willing and committed people to help us. Any help is welcome. Even an hour or two a week. We need some people to start the ball rolling and to build up a core group of people who can move us forward to start to realise our vision. There is a real risk that once the current group of trustees can no longer support KHC it will simply close and be lost forever.

More job adverts will appear in the next few weeks for very specific roles where the board doesn’t have the necessary expertise. We’re going to ramp up the campaign with some new ideas and opportunities to interact with us, so please keep an eye open and help us where you can. Even if it’s just to pass on the information to someone you know who might be interested. Right now, enthusiasm and willingness to help are far more important than anything else. There is a huge amount of work to do, but every pair of hands and every hour will make it easier and get us closer to being able to do the really fun stuff - which is to make Kegworth Heritage Centre a focal point for our community. We’re not content with being a museum. And closing down permanently is not an option!

Ally Gill, Acting Chair KHC,
Prague - August 30th, 2022

You may be wondering whatever happened to Kegworth Heritage Centre (formerly Kegworth Museum). It's been closed so long. Does it still exist? Will it ever open again?

To answer these questions I’d like to give you a long overdue update on what’s happening at the KHC, and apologise that it has taken so long.

Tempus fugit, or more accurately as it appears in Virgil’s original text “fugit inreparabile tempus” which literally translates to “it escapes; irretrievable time”. 2022 is the 30th Anniversary of Kegworth Heritage Centre, although the seeds for its creation were sown over 50 years ago in 1971 when the Kegworth Village Association was formed. The current Trustees have been thinking about how we could celebrate this wonderful milestone for over three years. Time hasn’t been on our side and we irretrievably lost most of the last two years, in common with Heritage Centres and Museums all over the country, and across the world. Even the biggest and best supported museums have shared the pain of being unable to open and watching their funds deteriorate and their volunteers leave.

At our January Trustee meeting, our focus was on committing to reopen the museum this year. Before you start thinking that all we have to do is open the front door and invite you in, let me assure you that it isn’t as simple as that. Following on from the extensive building work that took place between 2018-20, the collection is still in disarray and needs extensive TLC. When the new heating was installed, it revealed issues with the electrical wiring which we need to resolve but which is likely to cost in the region of £11,000 for us to make it future proof. The wiring is adequate and is not a risk to buildings or people but it is not good enough for us to go ahead with our plans to reimagine the way the collection is presented and the way we want to be able to interact with the community as a genuine Heritage Centre, not just a static collection of museum pieces.

Currently our focus is on making the museum safe for people to work in. It’s easy to joke about Health and Safety when it is someone else’s responsibility but when we, as trustees, potentially become personally liable, we have to make sure we are operating within the margins of safety and the law and not outside them. Until we are certain that we have the right governance and standards in place to ensure both volunteer and visitor safety we cannot reopen.

The good news is that we have rewritten almost all of the operational documents that are legally required along with those that are considered to be part of good governance by the Charity Commission and other heritage advisory boards. At the same time, Diane and Katie have done a lot of work in decluttering and reorganising much of the collection but there is still along way to go.

It is a slow process, partly because we have a chicken and egg situation, where we need certain things in place to move forward but our financial circumstances are forcing us into spend time looking at fundraising opportunities to raise the money to make the changes we need. One significant activity in this area is that we are actively moving to become an accredited museum (again). This will enable us to tap into grants and funding that is currently restricted and we are working with the Museum Development East Midlands organisation to realise this.

We’ve recently made some changes to help streamline our decision making process. Now the pandemic restrictions have been lifted and people have gone back to work, it can be difficult to get everyone together to make decisions as expected by our constitution. This isn’t helped by the geographical distribution of the trustees - one still in Prague, one working shifts on a rig in the North Sea, another going through both a home change and starting a new job, leaving only one trustee active in the village. The new (temporary) change will enable certain types of decision to be made more quickly and without a formal board meeting but ensuring that due diligence is observed and the necessary checks and balances remain in place. This has been facilitated by a grant from Kegworth Parish Council through which we finally have a server that can be accessed remotely as well as our own dedicated Microsoft Teams environment.

After so much frustration over the last three years, all the many different pieces of the puzzle are finally beginning to fit together. We have a plan that is flexible and adaptable to unexpected changes in requirements and priorities. I am confident that we shall be starting to actively recruit for volunteers very shortly, not just to help with reopening the centre, but in new and specific roles that have never been offered before. We want to go beyond the idea that volunteers act as stewards on opening days but start to help us in reimagining the whole concept of the role of the heritage centre in Kegworth and what it can offer.

Please bear with us for a little bit longer!

Ally Gill, Acting Chair KHC,
Prague - May 11th 2022

KHC SUPPORT FOR QUERIES ABOUT KEGWORTH FAMILIES AND PLACES


For many years KHC has been able to provide a limited amount of support helping people with queries about families and places of interest in the village. We know that people have found this both useful and valuable and it is a service that we wish to continue to provide.

For the time being, we regret that we must temporarily withdraw this support. The reasons for this are:

  1. Much of the information is stored in physical archives within the museum and as a result of the continued disruption caused by the refurbishment these archives are not as accessible as previously
  1. As KHC Trustees, our highest priority is to get the museum up and running and reopened. Because there are so few of us we need to have all-hands dedicated to this activity
  1. Our existing mechanism for accepting such requests and other support information has been overrun by spammers and we need to rethink the way we operate the feedback/support system. To that end, the feedback and mailing options previously available on this site have temporarily been disabled

Once we are operational again, please be assured that we will resume this service as it is an integral part of our vision. Until then, the Kegworth Remembered (a partnership with Kegworth Heritage Centre) Facebook group is an incredibly knowledgeable and helpful source of information and someone in that community may well be able to help you out!

Thank you for understanding.

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Welcome to our new KHC Trustee

The best definition of serendipity is a “happy accident” but serendipity is not something we’re too accustomed to at Kegworth Heritage Centre. Usually our surprises are big, expensive, involve huge amounts of physical labour and force us to close the museum doors.

This week I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome a new person onto the team who was introduced to us through a happy accident. I don’t need to go into the details but I’m delighted to introduce Katie Christian who joined the KHC Management Committee as a trustee last Friday.

Katie is an independent Sales and Marketing professional with a huge amount of experience in the hospitality sector. She has worked for Best Western (Yew Lodge), Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Hallmark Hotels and Drayton Manor Park. If that part of her resumé isn’t impressive enough, what we’re really excited about is Katie’s experience working for English Heritage in Derbyshire, specifically at Bolsover Castle.

Katie is from Chesterfield but is a regular visitor to Kegworth. We’ve already been super-impressed by her ideas and suggestions especially as she is seeing the Heritage Centre from a completely new perspective. I only hope we can keep up with her!
This weekend we have moved our web hosting services from 123Reg to Krystal. From a user perspective, you shouldn't notice any differences (although the web access may be faster) but it makes a big difference behind the scenes.

Although both companies are UK based (important to us) there have been problems with support, costs and flexibility of the old service. Krystal offers a cheaper, more flexible and extendable solution out of the box and their customer support is excellent. In fact, Krystal was able to offer us their basic package (which meets all our current needs) at no cost because of our charity status!

Hopefully, everything should be up and running by the time you see this, but if you notice any glitches please let us know by sending us a message.
Our last big infrastructure investment for the Kegworth Heritage Centre was installed yesterday (Saturday 18th July) and we now have a ‘state of the art’ (relatively speaking) heating system in place. Along with the new floors and windows, this completes the trio of big building projects the Trustees had targeted to deliver since they took over the watch in 2018.

It’s taken quite a long time to complete the work but hard work and patience has paid off. The initial work on the floor showed much bigger problems than we were first aware of which delayed the remainder of the plan. But the boost in funding from the Michael Bishop foundation and other sources at least gave us the ability to budget for the additional improvements. Even putting the new window in place was delayed because of planning issues that were not previously a problem, and it’s taken a while to finalise the heating because of the lockdown and getting the experts in to do the necessary surveys. We also had a difficult decision to make in choosing the most appropriate heating system, especially given the costs involved.

Greenvision Energy have been very supportive throughout our discussions and eventually we chose them to supply the Dimplex Quantum RR system using a mixture of storage heaters and radiators. These can be controlled from the HC directly or remotely. With the sealed flooring and the new double glazed windows we should be much more energy efficient which will then help reduce our on-going operating costs.

Click on any photo below to launch and browse the gallery.

As mentioned in the last update, the work to replace the ground floor of the Heritage Centre finally began on the 26th December. A local Kegworth firm, Brothers Building Contractors, started the laborious process of digging up the existing concrete, wood and some other interesting organic material, ready to replace it with a new stone sub-base, insulation, damp proof membrane and a final layer of concrete.

We are now looking at quotes for a new purpose designed floor covering which is to withstand the pitter patter of many tiny feet, as well as provide a suitable barrier between the concrete and the collection. The Heritage Centre will remain closed and out of bounds to non-building personnel) for the immediate future.

The trustees are especially grateful for the assistance provided by Geoff Powell in helping get the site ready for the builders to start - neither a pleasant or trivial task as it turned out!

Click on any photo below to launch and browse the gallery.

The long awaited building work to replace the downstairs floor is scheduled to start on November 26th. This has been the highest priority for the trustees and the biggest obstacle in being able to reopen Kegworth Heritage Centre on a regular basis. We are delighted that the work will be completed this year and enable us to start thinking about the future on a more stable footing!
The Annual Ghost Walk proved as popular as ever this year. In the end 20 people attended. Some extra fun was provided by members of Kegworth Young Players Association who braved the elements to play the spooks.
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DID YOU KNOW? Kegworth Heritage Centre can assist you in tracing your family history. We have many records, including Churchyard plans. (This only applies to local families - if you originate from Ulan Bator or even Leicester, you're on your own!)

Use this form to contact us for further information
Many of you will be aware of our partnership with the Kegworth Remembered Group on Facebook. The group is administered by one of our trustees, Phil Stevens, and contains over a thousand photographs of Kegworth people and events going back through the generations. Some of the photos are from the museum, but most have been submitted by Kegworth people and are of their families, friends, events and memories.

Forthcoming Events

EVENT

DATE

DESCRIPTION

COUNTDOWN

KHC Volunteering Event
March
11
Drop in and meet the KHC Trustees to discuss how you might be able to volunteer and support the Heritage Centre

Past Events

EVENT
DATE
DESCRIPTION
KHC Annual General Meeting
October
5
The KHC Annual General Meeting
KHC Annual Big Village Walk
August
11
The KHC Annual Big Village Walk
KHC Ghost walk
October
26
The traditional annual Haunted Kegworth walk.
Hello, Heritage
October
16
KHC Special opening as part of the NW Leicestershire Hello Heritage season. Open from 10:00 until 15:30 with a talk on The History of Photography and Photography in Kegworth starting at 13:00
Hello, Heritage
October
15
KHC Special opening as part of the NW Leicestershire Hello Heritage season. Open from 10:00 until 15:30. Poetry workshop for children from 10:30 until 12:30.