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A classroom with a difference at Gayle Mill

[Monday 21 March 2011]

Children from schools in the Yorkshire Dales will soon be able to experience hands-on learning by visiting the 230-year old Gayle Mill, near Hawes, as it launches a heritage education project with the arrival of Samantha Belcher, a dedicated Heritage Education and Training Co-ordinator.

Samantha joins the Mill from The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle to co-ordinate a three-year heritage education and skills project, part of the Yorkshire Dales LEADER Programme. The project will build on the Mill’s current successful educational programme developed and managed by volunteers.

William Lambert, Chairman of Gayle Mill Trust said, “We are delighted to welcome Samantha to Gayle Mill. Education is a key objective for Gayle Mill. Our successful application to the Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme has given us the funding to develop and expand our current activities to realise this objective. I hope everyone makes Samantha feel welcome and supports this important project.”

In the coming months Samantha will contact schools throughout the Yorkshire Dales to discuss visiting children in their classrooms and to invite them to visit Gayle Mill. In the classroom and at the Mill children will learn about local heritage, textile manufacture, sustainable electricity and power generation, and wood working, amongst many other interesting topics. Each visit will include hands-on activities and practical learning materials that link directly to the national curriculum. We know from experience that children cannot help but enjoy visiting the Mill, especially when they have the chance to generate electricity using a water powered turbine manufactured in 1920.

The project will also provide opportunities for young people and adults to keep traditional heritage skills alive, such as stone masonry, building with lime, and making gates and stiles. Heritage Craft Alliance (HCA) will partner with Gayle Mill to provide a range of demonstrations and hands-on workshops, using proven traditional tools and techniques.

Samantha is keen to see more children visiting the Mill. “This is a dream job for me”, she said, “as it combines my enthusiasm for history and heritage with my experience and passion for working with the community.”

To find out more about Gayle Mill’s Heritage Education & Skills Training Project please contact Samantha Belcher, the Heritage Education and Training Co-ordinator at Gayle Mill on 01969 667320 or samantha.belcher@gaylemill.org.uk.

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