Scottish Seabird Centre To Develop National Marine Centre

Gannets on the Bass Rock. Photo by Gareth Easton

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick has been awarded development funding of £290,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to progress plans to create the ‘National Marine Centre’ – and has also given its initial support for a £3.5million bid for the project.

The ‘National Marine Centre’ is an innovative and exciting project to diversify the Scottish Seabird Centre, expanding the charity’s conservation and education work. The aim is to build on the Centre’s existing activities and share more widely the importance, value and issues affecting Scotland’s unique marine environment and wildlife.

The project will involve the extension and upgrade of the existing building. Some initial design work has been undertaken but the Centre will now be conducting further research and developing plans in consultation with the local community, partners, members, visitors and funders.

The Scottish Seabird Centre opened in May 2000 and has won multiple awards for tourism, sustainability and its green credentials. It’s led a range of high profile conservation projects and provides a year-round facility for locals and visitors, as well as supporting artists with commissions and displays.

‘An award-winning visitor experience’

“Over the last 15 years our staff, volunteers and trustees have worked hard to develop and deliver an award-winning visitor experience and education programmes that have informed and inspired people about seabirds,” said Tom Brock OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre.

“Now we look forward to building on this success by also providing enhanced conservation and education programmes about the amazing marine environment and wildlife all around Scotland.

“We will work with the local community as well as with organisations all over Scotland to enthuse people across the country to conserve and protect our precious marine wildlife and environment for future generations.

“A massive thank you to HLF in supporting our vision. This is the first step in enabling us to appeal to, and work with, other funders to support this important national project that will highlight and celebrate a major part of Scotland’s outstanding natural heritage.”

‘Scotland’s amazing marine heritage and ‘fascinating marine environment’

Commenting from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dame Seona Reid, Deputy Chair of HLF and Chair of Committee for Scotland, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to give its initial support to this ambitious project which we hope will inspire people to look after Scotland’s amazing, and often hidden, marine heritage and our fascinating marine environment, which is home to an extraordinary array of marine life.”