The Curator, Erica Munro, reported that the Windmill’s summer activities had been a great success. These events had primarily consisted of public events, schools’ events as well as out of hour’s services.
The Hampshire Harvest event had been held on 30 August and had been a very successful event. Local traders had taken part and sold a wide variety of rurally sourced and rurally themed products. There had also been live music performances. Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) had provided relevant collections for visitors to view and engage with; on item of particular interest was a steam tractor. Windmill staff had also liaised with One Community and there had been a display from the Bursledon Brickworks. It was advised that HCT had wanted to offer guided tours of the Windmill but due to capacity issues, not enough guides were available. Erica reported that this was one of the main difficulties of the day.
Members were given an update on the progress of the Windmill’s volunteer recruitment. It was reported that unfortunately the progression had been slow and that the recruitment process had been carried out primarily through email and word of mouth. Despite this, three new volunteers had been recruited and time had been taken to allow them understand and engage with the buildings and structures. This had been helped through a radio interview on BBC Radio Solent with regard to the recruitment of volunteers for the Windmill and other local heritage sites. Moreover, a garden maintenance volunteer had been recruited with a view to building raised beds in order to plant wheat on site.
It was reported that eight school visits had taken place from 24 June to 30 September including one visit from a Special Educational Needs school. These visits had been very successful. Feedback from teaching staff had been very good and the Windmill had been given excellent scores for the delivery of their service. It was highlighted that a further five classes had also been booked for future dates. The Community Engagement and Learning Officer had revised and produced new publicity and flyers for schools which detailed the workshops available to schools.
It was advised that in May 2015, HCT had produced and distributed its ‘What’s On’ leaflet that covered the period from June to September. This was distributed throughout the region to TICs, libraries, museums, accommodation providers, educational establishments, attractions, art centres and theatres. The new edition, covering the period October to December had been delivered in early September. Online marketing through the use of social media and an e-newsletter had also been increasingly used and this had produced an increased interest from the public and potential visitors. This increase had been significantly aided by the Hampshire Harvest event. It was reported that there had been an upward trend in visitor figures on the previous year but a slight fall in visitors was expected for the winter period, however, it was stressed that this fall would be expected due to the colder temperatures. It was advised that HCT would always be looking for new ways to attract new visitors.
Members congratulated Erica Munro on her comprehensive and detailed report.
Members raised the issue of the obscured view of the Windmill as a result of nearby trees. Diccon Bright advised that a survey of the trees and their ownership had been commissioned but the survey’s findings had not yet been distributed.
Members were concerned that there had been a lack of engagement with schools in the Eastleigh Borough area. It was reported that advertising of school sessions and workshops was very prominent and schools were never turned away and staff would endeavour to accommodate as many school groups as possible.
Members raised the issue of parking at the Windmill site. Tim Kelly advised Members that due to the locality of the site, parking was limited and the size of guided tours was limited to seven due to fire safety regulations. Erica Munro advised that tours would last 25 minutes, leaving every 30 minutes.
(1) That the report be noted.
(2) That the survey of trees in the Windmill’s locality be distributed.