Members considered the report of the Community Museum Manager, Cerian Gale. She advised that Bursledon Windmill had an excellent few months over the summer and into the autumn period with increased visitor numbers and a wide range of interesting events and activities taking place on site. For the first time in a number of years, the Windmill had opened on both Saturday and Sunday from June 2017 through to the end of November 2017 which had been successful.
A number of events had
taken place from July to October 2017, with four special event
weekends in August as part of the Tesco Bags of Help Grant. The
annual Bursledon Bake Off event was also held, which had record
visitor numbers and it was hoped that this event would be expanded.
In September 2017 as part of the Harvest Weekend which included a
lot of entertainment and activities, Nigel Spender, Conservation
Engineer had taken two of the Petter
engines to the Windmill and demonstrated them; there had been a lot
of positive feedback and this would be made into an annual event
Two more events would take place before the Windmill closed for the winter period; a final weekend themed around hibernation called ‘The Big Sleep’ and a Santa’s Grotto, which there had been a lot of interest in. The increased events had seen a build-up of interest at the Windmill over the summer period and they had really begun building a successful reputation.
With regards to the conservation and operation of the Windmill, the repairs had started and were due to be completed at the end of November 2017. This year the Windmill had trialed having staff on site on a Friday to provide an opportunity to conduct training and complete maintenance. As a result, a large number of maintenance tasks had been completed by volunteers which had improved the site presentation and conservation of the Mill. Training on mill operation for the team and further outstanding maintenance work around the site would be completed over the winter months.
Visitor numbers had performed very well in comparison to the previous year over the same period and they had increased, with the biggest increase (68% up) in August 2017. The increased numbers at events had allowed the Windmill to widen their marketing reach, which had meant that each event had built numbers for the ones to follow, which should continue into the coming months and 2018.
28 pupils from Meonstoke Infant School took part in workshop programmes in October 2017. The feedback from these was very positive. In addition, the schools team attended the Primary Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) conference in Winchester, promoting the two learning programmes available at Bursledon Windmill to over 370 NQTs. Teachers were interested in the programmes on offer and bookings for next year were expected to be strong.
Better Life Chances was a major strand of work for the trust and was one of the trust’s four key objectives. This work stream was created in 2016 and signalled a different approach to engagement with targeted communities. Examples of its work included arts and cultural projects with young and old offenders from across Hampshire; a poetry and visual arts project for people with dementia; exploring new ways of teaching and learning with Education Centres (Pupil Referral Units) across Hampshire including The Bridge in Eastleigh and Wessex Dance academy which provided a highly disciplined dance programme for non-mainstream young people who were offenders, in care or not in school, who attend from right across Hampshire, including Eastleigh. The Academy had also performed at The Point in October 2017.
There had been two Out of Hours visits to the Windmill in July 2017 by various local Beaver and Brownie groups which totalled 32 people and one visit from an Autism Respite Centre in August 2017.
A new edition of What’s On covering the period July – October 2017 which featured Bursledon Windmill was delivered at the end of August. “What’s On for Families” had also been created for the Autumn period which had featured Bursledon Windmill on the cover.
The e-newsletter Museums Monthly, which featured exhibitions and events from Bursledon, had been sent to sign ups on a new database. There were now over 5500 subscribers. Events at the Windmill continued to be promoted on social media sites, with a particular emphasis on improving promotion and use of the Facebook site with some very positive results; the Facebook now had over 3300 “likes” and Twitter over 5000 followers.
In addition, a trust-wide visitor survey had been implemented and would recommence in the spring, which would feed into the service and marketing planning processes.
Work had now begun on the 2018 them ‘Creative Genius’ and as milling was going to feature as a creative and innovative industry in Hampshire it was hoped that Bursledon Windmill would be involved.