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Sam Rowlands MS pleased to see more lottery funding for North Wales

SAM Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has welcomed news that a £7.3 million grant has been awarded for a new building for the North East Wales Archive.

Mr Rowlands was commenting after it was announced that Denbighshire and Flintshire County Councils have been awarded the funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

He said: “I am delighted to hear about the financial support for this extremely important project which will allow the archives to eventually be in one purpose built building.

“It makes a lot of sense for the two local authorities to work together on this as I am sure a collaborative approach will guarantee the future of the region’s historical records.

“It is also great to see many different schemes all over North Wales receiving vital funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.”

With match contributions of £2m from Denbighshire County Council and £3m from Flintshire County Council, this will allow NEWA to move from its current branches in Ruthin and Hawarden to future proof the region’s historic records in a purpose-built net carbon zero building in Mold. 

Liz Grieve, Head of Housing and Communities Service at Denbighshire County Council said, “Local Authorities have a statutory duty to maintain an archive, and the current facilities are not fit for purpose. The decision to approve the project was made in principle in October 2023 and took into consideration the financial challenges facing the Council.  That decision considered a range of options and concluded there was not a ‘no cost’ or a ‘low cost’ option.

“This collaborative approach with Flintshire County Council offers the best value for money and ensures that we can take advantage of the funding from the Heritage Fund that might not otherwise be available to secure this long-term solution. It will also mean that our staff can deliver an improved service and will be able to better engage with the community in north Wales.”

Claire Homard, Chief Officer for Education & Youth in Flintshire said “The successful project, called ‘Creative Archives’, will transform the way NEWA works giving local communities greater access to collections and providing opportunities for staff to interact with the public to celebrate their personal and communities’ histories. The project also includes an improved outreach and digital programme to extend access to the archives across the region and further afield as well as creating more spaces for research, performances, and exhibitions.”

Andrew White, Director for The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said, “Projects such as this highlight how funding from the Heritage Fund can be used not only to preserve our heritage and history but turn it into an exciting vision that will impact the lives of future generations. 

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“It’s thanks in no small part to players of The National Lottery that we’re able to enjoy seeing projects like the Creative Archives flourish and provide communities with a hub for creative and educational spaces.”

Ruthin Gaol and The Old Rectory in Hawarden have hosted the archive services for many years but can no longer meet the expectations and requirements of stakeholders or provide sufficient or suitable spaces to house the growing collections. The new site will help to revolutionise access to a wider and more diverse audience and protect the collections for future generations.

The new archive centre is expected to open in late 2027.