Another step has been taken as the Margate Caves moves closer to its reopening in 2019 with the appointment of a learning and outreach officer.
Following a six-year campaign, The Margate Caves Community Education Trust secured funding to create a landmark building that includes community facilities such as a cafe, alongside a visitor centre that will provide access to the restored Caves, which were closed in 2004.
In November 2013 The Margate Caves Community Education Trust (TMCCET) was formed and registered with the Charity Commission.
The building, designed by award-winning architects Kaner Olette, received planning permission in 2015.
Thanet District Council granted the Margate Caves Community Education Trust a long lease for the historic Northdown Road site last September.
The lease meant the Trust could access a £1m grant gained from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year alongside the £420,000 granted by the Big Lottery Fund in 2016 for work to get the Caves open.
Excavation took place in February and now the Trust has appointed Rebecca Welby as its part-time Learning and Outreach Officer.
Rebecca is raising awareness of the caves and part of her role is to set up a Teachers’ Panel to help develop the learning resources. She is also visiting schools in Thanet to talk to the children about the caves and get their input on what they would like to see in Explorer Packs which will be handed out to visitors.
She said: “It’s important to develop our kids’ activities in collaboration with the children who will be using them. We don’t want to put together the standard kit bag that lots of attractions have for children, which have usually been created by adults.
“We want our resources to be as inspiring and exciting as the caves themselves! We’re keen to work closely with a Teachers’ Panel so we can offer a range of resources for groups visiting the caves.
“We are also looking to create some Loan Boxes that schools can take away with them to use in the classroom, aiding exciting cross-curricular learning.”
Rebecca already has visits booked to St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School, Hartsdown Academy and St Lawrence College Junior School, as well as a Margate-based Rainbow and Brownie group. She’s available to come to schools across the island and speak in assemblies, or smaller year groups.
Rebecca can also visit Scouting and Guiding groups to run cave drawing workshops. All free of charge this year while the Trust develops its education programme.
If you would be interested in either booking a Caves talk or workshop, or being part of the Teachers’ Panel, please email firstname.lastname@example.org