Funding is star deal for Kielder Observatory
MORE people will experience that star struck feeling thanks to an astronomical cash boost.
Kielder Observatory in Northumberland will now be able to run three times as many events throughout the year.
The Northumberland Uplands LEADER scheme has awarded the observatory £50,000 over two years to develop Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society and enable the organisation to deliver an enhanced programme of events.
Gary Fildes, director of the observatory and chairman of the society, said: “This is fantastic news for star gazers. Since Kielder Observatory opened we’ve had a great response from local visitors and from people travelling from all over the country to witness the spectacular dark skies at Kielder Water and Forest Park.
“As a volunteer group we were very limited in the number of public events we could host. The extra funding means we’ll now be able to put on around 150 events a year giving visitors a much better chance of seeing something amazing.”
Peter Sharpe, Kielder Partnership art and architecture curator, said: “The LEADER funding also means we’ll be able to increase the variety of the events.
“From programmes where we will go into schools to teach children about the universe to open days where anyone can drop in for free, there will be something for all from novice astronomers to enthusiasts.”
Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group is hosted by Northumberland National Park and uses LEADER to make funding decisions.
The funding is available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union, and is managed by One North East in the region.
Anna Charlton from the action group said: “These events will bring people into the most remote part of the Northumberland uplands to view and explore the most remote parts of our universe.”