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CROOME’S A WINNER AT GLITTERING CEREMONY

A National Trust team has received a sought after accolade at the annual Museums and Heritage Awards which recognizes the innovators and leaders in the world of heritage visitor attractions.

The award for ‘Best Educational Initiative’ was given to the team working at Croome, near Pershore, for the ‘Potter and Ponder’ sensory experience announced by comedian Ian Moore.

Regarded as the Oscars of the museums and heritage industry, the Awards ceremony is attended by hundreds of sector professionals who join to celebrate the incredible achievements and groundbreaking projects of the past 12 months.

Now celebrating its fifteenth year, the annual Awards, judged by a panel of the sector’s most senior players, recognise the innovators and leaders of the diverse world of museums, galleries and cultural and heritage visitor attractions.

“It was wonderful for Croome’s Potter and Ponder initiative to receive national recognition for its innovative approach to education,” said Michael Forster-Smith, Croome’s General Manager. “The team responsible, led by Katherine Alker and Rachel Sharpe, worked alongside local schools and families to create a trail designed to share our park with children with a broad range of special needs. The outcome was an enriching and fun trail, focussing on a sensory approach to enjoying Croome’s landscape, available to all our visitors. The development of Potter and Ponder was supported by Jo Amphlett and Kiki Claxton from our team at Croome, along with a variety of other partners, including the Heritage Lottery Fund and Outside In, our creative partners. Well done to all involved in making Potter and Ponder such a success, the Museums and Heritage award is richly deserved.”

Croome’s ‘Potter and Ponder’ aims to encourage families with disabilities to explore the beautiful parkland in a very different way.

Four local groups with wide ranging special needs and learning disabilities collaborated with the National Trust to create the map. During their visits to Croome it became apparent that the children loved making echoes under the Dry Arch Bridge; feeling the leaves and bark on different trees; smelling the variety of flowers; and walking barefoot on the grass. These sensory experiences were used in the final map which takes you on a journey of different sensations such as sound, touch and smell.

The judging panel said, “It is a remarkable, creative and innovative story of engaging children with severe learning difficulties. It benefits both the children and their carers and offers lessons which can be learned across the sector.”

In addition to Croome’s award was a one-off ‘Special Recognition Award’ for the National Trust. Nominated by the Judges, the National Trust was rewarded for its creativity in visitor engagement, remarkable growth in visitor figures and its impressive fostering of creative partnerships. Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust accepted the award saying “We know we are just one part of a movement … the fact that we, as an organisation, are able to reach out and touch so many people is because of all of you and what you do on a day to day basis … We are enormously lucky for that support and to be able to spend more than we have ever been able to on conservation and experiences that move, teach and inspire.”

The free ‘Potter and Ponder’ map is available from Croome’s Visitor Centre.

Croome is open throughout the year. The park and lakeside are open from 9am until 5.30pm and Croome Court is open from 11am to 4.30pm every day. Normal admission applies.

For more information please call: 01905 371006 or visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome