Six staff at Saltholme nature reserve made redundant after five-year Lottery funding ends


SIX members of staff at a nature reserve have been made redundant following a “successful” five years which saw them teach over 13,000 school children and receive an award.

The part-time educational staff at Saltholme Visitors Centre, off Seaton Carew Road, Hartlepool, were taken on when the centre was awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund for its Saltholme Lifelong Learning Project.

The project saw thousands of school children from around the region descend on the centre to learn about wildlife, birds and nature, which saw the team commended with a National Lottery Award for Education back in 2012.

But the funding was only ever meant to last for five years say reserve bosses, and that time has now elapsed.

Dave Braithwaite, site manager at Saltholme, told the Mail: “Yes it is right that six members of staff are being made redundant.

“It’s come to the end of a project that was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“It’s been a huge success but unfortunately these things come to an end.

“All the staff here knew that but when you do use the ‘redundancy’ word it always seems a bit more of a concern to those on the outside.”

Mr Braithwaite said the Heritage Lottery Fund also stated from the outset that it would not re-fund the same project.

Further cash can only be applied for if there is a different scheme with different outcomes.

The centre is now looking for two part-time educational staff to join two remaining full-time educational staff members.

And those who are being made redundant can apply.

The pay-offs come as Saltholme – which cost £7m to build and opened back in March 2009 – celebrates its fifth birthday this weekend.

This Saturday and Sunday, staff and volunteers will be hosting crafts for all the family as well as guided walks for nature enthusiasts. They invited the public to come and see how much the reserve has developed since opening.

Mr Braithwaite added: “Saltholme has become one of the most popular attractions for days out in the region, but we couldn’t have done it without the support of not only our partners, but the people who visit us and support our work in a very real way.”