Emsworth-based arts organisation WemsFest has submitted a substantial bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which it hopes will create greater footfall in Emsworth following the closure of two of the three high street banks.
Artistic Director Mark Ringwood explains. We warmly support the initiatives shown by the Emsworth Business Association and feel that our aim of turning Emsworth into a Maritime Heritage Destination can bring real benefits which will see a greater footfall of visitors from outside the area. Our project application to HLF is for funding to commemorate the past 400 years of the harbour and port as it changed from a very busy trading centre to a place of recreational excellence.
There's a fascinating historical sequence of events which we can document to show what brought about these fundamental changes which affected businesses and in turn the residents and fortunes of Emsworth. One important legacy of our project will be to create a Maritime Trail App which will utilise digital technology to bring the past history of the town to life in a very creative way - the overall concept will be a market leader in terms of tourism. Added to this we hope to create a pool of qualified Guides who will be able to show visitors the maritime importance of Emsworth, the history of relevant buildings, and the relevance which the playwright and lyricist P G Wodehouse had through the time in which he lived here on an ongoing basis. Should we be successful with the bid we will be staging a number of additional events next June and July which are timed to take advantage of the pre-Americas Cup races in Portsmouth."
The outcome of the application will be known early in the New Year