Development funding of £56,500 has been awarded to help develop proposals for improvements to the mill, which is one of only two working tide mills that produces and sells flour in the UK, together with the creation of a learning centre at the site.
The aim is to allow more visitors, particularly young people and local community organisations, to access the Grade II* listed building and take part in hands-on learning.
Planned activities include interacting with working models of the quern stones and Eling Tide Mill to see how it all works; hosting school groups at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3; providing outreach activities with milling tools and artefacts and taking part in baking demonstrations to taste the end product!
There will also be more guided walks through the local countryside on offer and talks on local history and conservation. Local people and visitors will have the chance to compare the traditional use of power by the mill wheel with a state-of-the art production of electricity from the tides.
The mill currently produces flour for the New Forest Marque local produce scheme and will utilise the second waterwheel to power a new tidal turbine to produce electricity.
Cllr Di Brooks, New Forest District Council Portfolio Holder for Health and Leisure, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. This is a practical example of where joint working between two councils will bring real benefit to the district.”
Councillor Neville Penman, Chairman of Totton & Eling Town Council, said: “Support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Eling Experience project is fantastic news for the town and this underlines the importance of what is a unique piece of local heritage.”
The Eling Experience currently allows visitors to see the mill in action at Eling Creek, before discovering more local history at the Totton and Eling Heritage Centre, with tea rooms, picnic and children’s play area and access to local walks.
The HLF funding will give the mill and the new learning centre real impetus under the banner of “Eling Experience”, combining the history of the mill with modern power generation, all within a setting of great importance for nature conservation.
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are delighted to be giving our initial support to this project that will, if successful at the second round, transform the Eling Experience for visitors to this historic 18th-century mill. The learning centre will provide a great insight into the heritage of the local area and enable people from near and far to learn about the important role the mill played in local community life.”
Notes to editors
The bid has secured a first-round pass, which means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.
On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme.
New Forest District Council: Davina Staples, Corporate Communications Advisor on 023 8028 5588 / 07771 828 039, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HLF press office: Laura Bates on 020 7591 6027, email: email@example.com.