Sherborne Area Tourism Forum  has been awarded £78,000 for its Discovering Sherborne project following a successful bid for Northern Dorset Leader funding which is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural DevelopmentThe project is a Heritage Wayfinding and a promotional shop window project to increase pedestrian flow to heritage and cultural sites across the town, to link up heritage and cultural offers and increase heritage tourism.

Sherborne has recently seen challenging times for tourism employment with, amongst other things, the closure of the Sherborne Hotel and the reduction of staying visitors in the town. Since the hotel closure, the Tourism Forum has focused on day visitors as being vital to the continued health of the sector and this project fully supports this, with the intended benefits of growth of tourism and consequent creation of tourism jobs in the town.

The project has four parts to it:

  • A linked series of way finding signs across the town from the town car parks, the railway station and principal bus stops in addition to the town centre
  • A number of wall mounted graphic information boards to complement wayfinding signs – on major thoroughfares through the town
  • Mobile information in the form of vinyls or boards that may be used in empty shops, at cultural and tourism evets e.g. Sherborne Abbey Festival and by local companies  and organisations e.g. the Tourism Forum to drive cultural & heritage visitors to and around Sherborne
  • A Sherborne Town App

‘We are delighted to have successfully bid for Leader Funding from Northern Dorset Local Action Group ‘says Janet Schofield from Sherborne TIC and chairman of Sherborne Tourism Forum. ‘We would like to thank Sarah, Jess and her team at the LAG who have provided enormous encouragement and guidance during the lengthy application process and the team at West Dorset District Council and Sherborne Town Council who have supplied additional finance for the project. Whilst this project has been spearheaded by the Tourism Forum we have been grateful for the support we have received from both Sherborne Chamber of Trade and Sherborne Indies. We very much look forward to providing Sherborne with a wayfinding scheme that helps it in its mission to be a top quality heritage destination.’

Cllr Mary Penfold, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Enabling, said: “We are delighted to support this project with £4,000 from our Tourism fund and £14,754 from local development planning obligations [section 106]. Encouraging tourism to West Dorset is a key part of our agenda as a council. Sherborne’s offer as a tourist destination is fascinating; the charm of its high street, the mix of independent shops and the wonderful heritage and historical offer make for a great day out.”

Picture caption: L – R Janet Schofield from Sherborne TIC and Chair of Sherborne Tourism Forum and Nicky King, member of the Sherborne Tourism Forum, owner of The Three Wishes Café and Restaurant, Sherborne and responsible for putting much of the bid together.

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