chesterfield tourism

Stephenson Memorial Hall refurbishment receives further funding boost    

An ambitious project to refurbish Chesterfield’s historic Stephenson Memorial Hall – which is home to the Pomegranate Theatre and Chesterfield Museum – has been boosted by £695,000 from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme.

The funding has been secured by Chesterfield Borough Council and will be used to install a ventilation system in the Pomegranate Theatre auditorium and create a new Changing Places toilet. This funding will complement the Government’s Levelling Up Funding and investment from the council which aims to create a modern cultural attraction in the heart of the town centre.

Under the plans the refurbished Stephenson Memorial Hall will bring together an extended Pomegranate Theatre, a reconfigured and modern museum, alongside new gallery space, a café bar, education and community facilities. The £17.5 million project will also protect the Grade II listed building and ensure that it remains part of the borough’s heritage for many more generations to come.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “It’s fantastic news that we’ve received more support for our multi-million-pound refurbishment of the Stephenson Memorial Hall. This funding will help ensure we realise our ambitions of creating an accessible cultural experience, allowing more of our residents and visitors to access this building to enjoy performances and learn about our heritage.”

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director of Arts Council England, said: “Our Capital Grants programme provides organisations with vital funding to ensure they have the right buildings and equipment to help them become more sustainable and innovative places, as they deliver exciting and creative work to the public.

“We’re pleased to be investing in seven projects in the East Midlands – from replacing well-worn seats in auditoriums and purchasing the latest digital technology to installing ecologically friendlier lighting and making buildings more cost-effective.  Funded work includes updating access facilities designed to ensure a more welcoming experience for visitors.”

As part of these 2021-22 and 2022-23 grants, over £22.7 million has been awarded to 66 cultural organisations across the country. The Capital Investment Programme aims to help cultural organisations across the country transform their buildings and equipment so they can operate safely post-pandemic, improve access, seize technological opportunities, and reduce environmental impact. From Barrow-in-Furness to The Isles of Scilly, the organisations receiving funding share a vision to build a fit for the future cultural sector, which all members of their communities can access.

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Barrow Hill Roundhouse to be lit up with large-scale projections as part of Derbyshire ‘Shine a light’ campaign

Chesterfield’s iconic Barrow Hill Roundhouse will be lit up with spectacular light projections later this year, as it has been selected as one of the venues in the annual Derbyshire ‘Shine a light’ campaign.

Large-scale projections will light up Derbyshire landmarks with a unique fusion of music, visuals and sound when ‘Shine A Light’ returns this autumn/winter.

Visitors will be able to watch Derbyshire’s history unfold in magical night-time shows projected on to four heritage venues across the county as part of the new Shine A Light programme, which will run from September 2022 to February 2023.

Alongside Barrow Hill Roundhouse, The large-scale projections will take place for the first time at Elvaston Castle and the National Trust’s Hardwick Hall, whilst Cromford Mills will return to host the unique outdoor events for a second year.

In addition, the towns of New Mills and Bolsover will be working with the Shine A Light team to build exciting new additions for their annual community lantern processions and parades.

Providing fun for the whole family, the events will bring together awe-inspiring illuminations and projections in a visually stunning display that is unique to each venue and centred around the themes of climate change and water.

Delivered by internationally-renowned Derbyshire-born video projection artists Illuminos, Shine A Light is inspired by Voices From The Peak – a celebration of the county in sound created by local poet and performer Mark Gwynne Jones to celebrate the Peak District National Park’s 70th birthday last year.

The events have been commissioned by Derbyshire County Council following a successful pilot in 2021 when Shine A Light displays held at Chatsworth and Cromford Mills were enjoyed by more than 3,200 visitors.

Designed to celebrate Derbyshire’s rich history and heritage, extend the tourism season and boost the visitor economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the next instalments of Shine A Light aim to build on last year’s success with more awe-inspiring events.

Confirmed dates and venues are:

  • Cromford Mills, home of Sir Richard Arkwright’s first mill complex, in the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, on Thursday 27 October and Friday 28 October
  • Elvaston Castle, a Gothic Revival castle and surrounding parkland, run by Derbyshire County Council, on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November
  • Barrow Hill Roundhouse, the last surviving railway roundhouse in the United Kingdom with an operational turntable, on Thursday 8 December and Friday 9 December
  • Hardwick Hall, an Elizabethan country house built by Bess of Hardwick in the 1500s, owned by the National Trust, on Friday 17 February and Saturday 18 February

Exciting new works will be displayed at New Mills Lantern Procession & Community Event on Saturday 24 September and Bolsover Lantern Parade on Saturday 26 November.

Tickets and more information will be available soon at www.visitpeakdistrict.com/shine-a-light.

Derbyshire County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture, Tourism and Climate Change Councillor Barry Lewis said: “We’re tremendously proud of what we achieved with Shine A Light last year but that was just the beginning.

“We’re coming back bigger and better this year with more venues added, each with their own story to tell as part of this ‘anthology’.

“With the visitor economy still feeling the after effects of the pandemic, it’s vital that we support its recovery in Derbyshire and we’re proud to be able to help support these unique experiences which will provide excellent entertainment for tourists and residents alike.”

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “Last year’s Shine A Light displays provided magical entertainment for visitors and residents alike, and we’re delighted that this year’s programme has expanded to include three great new heritage venues and two community-based celebrations.

“These events provide an excellent opportunity to see Derbyshire’s rich history brought to life whilst enjoying the area’s great visitor offer in the typically quieter months, supporting the recovery of local businesses in the process.”

Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire and Barrow Hill Ltd. supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Newborns highlight Rare Breeds success at Chatsworth

While visitors have been enjoying the sights and sounds of its latest newborns this spring, Chatsworth Farmyard has been particularly celebrating the latest additions to its breeding programme for rare and sometimes critically endangered animals.

Two Albion calves, Bronte and Queenie, have been born in the past ten days. Originally called the ‘Bakewell Blues’ because of their origins in Derbyshire, Albions are listed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) as the most rare ‘priority’ breed.

Meanwhile, Eugenie, Chatsworth’s Suffolk Punch mare is expecting another foal in the next couple of weeks, having successfully delivered visitor favourite ‘Huxley’ last year. The RBST considers the Suffolk Punch to be critically endangered with fewer than 500 purebred horses registered in the UK. Eugenie is one of only 72 female Suffolk Punches, making them more endangered than the Giant Panda.

Bagot goat kids and Gloucester Old Spot piglets are due soon and are listed as ‘at risk’ breeds while the farmyard is also hoping for some rare breed chicks from its Derbyshire Redcap chickens.

The Farmyard has been welcoming plenty of newborns this spring, though not all are rare breeds.  A Donkey foal, lambs, goat kids and piglets are all expected additions in the next few weeks.

Chatsworth Farmyard is home to a number of the country’s rarest breeds of livestock and equines, including Suffolk Punch horses, Shire horses, Albion cattle, Bagot goats and Cream Legbar and Derbyshire Redcap chickens, as well as British Landrace pigs and Eriskay ponies.

“We are delighted to welcome our two beautiful Albion calves. They’re incredibly rare and I have always wanted to have some of these wonderful cows here. Given their local heritage it feels like the perfect fit at Chatsworth Farmyard,” said Farmyard Manager, Melissa Underwood.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) awarded RBST accreditation to Chatsworth Farmyard last year, recognising its important contribution to the conservation of some the rarest livestock and equine breeds native to the UK.

RBST is the national charity that works to secure the future of rare breeds of native livestock and equines. Chatsworth Farmyard is now part of the 25-strong network of RBST accredited farm parks which take part in crucial conservation programmes, manage special breeding groups, and support education about rare breeds and why they matter.

Chatsworth Farmyard and Adventure Playground is open daily to visitors (www.chatsworth.org).

Chatsworth supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Matlock Farm Park’s George Finlay wins national Tourism Superstar award

Matlock Farm Park’s George Finlay is celebrating after being announced as VisitEngland’s 2022 Tourism Superstar.

22-year-old farm supervisor George saw off tough competition from nine other finalists across England to be crowned the winner, receiving 29% of the public vote and becoming the competition’s youngest winner to date.

The Tourism Superstar award was launched by national tourism agency VisitEngland and The Mirror 10 years ago to recognise the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry.

George was nominated for his enthusiasm, passion, knowledge and dedication – attributes that win him regular praise in visitor reviews. His responsibilities include looking after the health and welfare of animals, interacting with visitors and running informative animal-based activities such as wallaby encounters and meerkat talks.

George is particularly passionate about the mental health benefits of animals and when Matlock Farm Park was closed during Covid restrictions, he was the driving force behind the creation of weekly Facebook Live broadcasts to entertain visitors with uplifting content.

In addition, George actively seeks to encourage younger visitors to have a love for animals and with his beaming smile and friendly approach, he goes out of his way to ensure people of all ages and abilities have a memorable day.

The announcement comes after George won Silver in the Tourism Young Achiever category at the Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards earlier this month.

Reacting to news of his win, George said: “I am over the moon to have won the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar award. I feel so lucky to work in a job where I can share my passion for animals with visitors of all ages and winning this national award, which is voted for by members of the public, is a huge honour.

“The Peak District and Derbyshire is an incredible destination, with so much to offer visitors, and I’m delighted that I get to play a small role in helping people to have memorable experiences. Thank you to everyone who voted!”

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “At just 22 years old, George is a fantastic ambassador for our vibrant tourism sector and we’re delighted to see him win this prestigious national award.

“George embodies all that is great about working in the Peak District and Derbyshire’s tourism industry – he is friendly, helpful and engages with people of all ages with a view to making their trip special. A huge well done to George and thank you to everyone who voted.”

Andrew Stokes, Director of VisitEngland, said: “Tourism Superstar recognises the people who go the extra mile to create standout visitor experiences, and each finalist has gone above and beyond for tourists. George has clinched the title thanks to his tireless work in ensuring visitors to Matlock Farm Park gave the best time whilst making sure the animals have all they need.

“During Covid, he also extended the healing reach of the animals into people’s homes with his live streams, from lambing to feeding, supporting people to feel connected. Many thanks to all our finalists and to everyone who took the time to take part in the voting.”

Matlock Farm Park and Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Hundreds of jobs to be showcased at local tourism recruitment fair

The wide variety of exciting, rewarding and long-term careers offered by the Peak District and Derbyshire’s hospitality and tourism industry are set to be showcased at a local recruitment fair in March.

The Hospitality & Tourism Jobs Fair will be held at The Whitworth in Darley Dale, near Matlock, on Monday 21 March 2022 from 10am to 2pm, promoting hundreds of current jobs available in the sector as well as shining a spotlight on future career paths into the industry.

Offering a fantastic opportunity for both job seekers and employers, the free jobs fair takes place during English Tourism Week (18-27 March 2022) and aims to address the ongoing hospitality recruitment crisis, whilst helping to change perceptions that hospitality jobs offer ‘long hours for little pay’.

Attendees will have the opportunity to get hands-on with live demonstrations showcasing different aspects of working in the sector – from setting a restaurant table and making a hotel bed, to creating mocktails and learning about foraging and food presentation.

In addition, a ‘Live Apply’ zone will feature full-time, part-time and seasonal job opportunities currently available in the Peak District and Derbyshire, with a fast-track application process removing the need for lengthy application forms and CVs.

One-to-one advice will be available for attendees wishing to further their confidence and skills to be ‘job-ready’, and there will also be a rolling programme of inspirational speakers from local hospitality and tourism businesses.

The event has been arranged by Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire with support from the UK Community Renewal Fund and is part of a programme of support to drive the recovery of visitor economy businesses.

It follows the recent launch of the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter, which aims to raise the profile of the hospitality industry, boost recruitment and promote the sector as a career of choice to parents, schools, colleges and universities.

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “The Hospitality & Tourism Jobs Fair is a great opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to discover the diverse careers available in this rewarding sector, connecting employers to new emerging talent.

“We’re in an unprecedented time in terms of the challenges faced by local businesses and following the launch of the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter, we’re working closely with local authorities and education providers to identify opportunities and target support where it’s most needed.

“This Jobs Fair is another step in that process, and we’re looking forward to shining a light on all the benefits that a career in hospitality can bring – from fulfilling, long-term employment to fantastic opportunities for training and development.”

The Hospitality & Tourism Jobs Fair is free to attend, and visitors can simply turn up on the day or register in advance at visitpeakdistrict.com/jobs-fair.

Businesses and education providers can find more information at visitpeakdistrict.com/industry/jobs-fair.

Businesses are encouraged to join the conversation and to promote hospitality jobs on social media using the hashtag #AGreatPlacetoWork.

Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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New game added at Chesterfield Escape Rooms

Chesterfield Escape Rooms has announced the launch of a new game, providing a new challenge to visitors at the attraction.

The new game, titled ‘The Cage’ has been added to the lineup, alongside existing titles ‘The Governor,’ ‘Rob the Bank,’ and ‘The Crazy Cat Lady.’

The game is set to give players a few frights along the way, with the game being set around an evil restaurant owner with a dark secret.

Owner of Chesterfield Escape Rooms, Nick Hogan said he was delighted to be offering the new experience to customers: “We are only offering new games because the people of Chesterfield have supported us so far as nearly 7000 players have taken part so far.

“When we reached number 4 in the UK it was a real pinch yourself moment. The team were challenged to get into the top 20 rooms so to get so far has been unbelievable. The next time the Derbyshire Times posts the question, ‘What’s the best thing about Chesterfield?’ I am hoping someone says the Escape Rooms.”

Nick also explained when people can expect to see further development within the Games Quarter: “From an Escape room perspective, we may look to freshen things up late in 2022 but we want to get the CAGE firmly established as a fantastic experience and we may then look towards the next Xmas theme.

He also hopes that more people across Chesterfield will pay a visit to the attraction and give it a try: “So many people will say they don’t want to be locked in a room or confined space or are scared. There really isn’t anything to worry about. I would ask them to give us a call and talk through the options as to how we would make their experience a fantastic one.”

Chesterfield Escape Rooms supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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World famous Burning Man sculptures to arrive at Chatsworth this year

Huge sculptures from Burning Man, held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, USA will be making their UK debut at Chatsworth this spring at an ambitious and free-to-access exhibition in the Derbyshire estate’s parkland.

Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man at Chatsworth is a large-scale exhibition in the publicly accessible 1000 acre park surrounding the house, which sees 12 monumental sculptures from Burning Man, going on display in the UK for the first time from 9 April to 1 October.

While Radical Horizons takes place in Chatsworth’s parkland, a second exhibition Living With Art We love: An exhibition presented by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire will be taking place inside the house from 26 March to 9 October.

It features favourite items from their acquisitions over the past 40 years, few of which have been on public display, including paintings, sculpture and furniture, and including some works from the historic collection with a section dedicated to Lucian Freud in that artist’s centenary.

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing this celebratory programme for Chatsworth. The exhibition in the house is a marker in time – a record of our acquisitions that we want to share with others – while the sculptures in the park continue the great tradition of the estate as a backdrop for contemporary works. We very much hope that visitors find inspiration here in this special place.”

Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man at Chatsworth is an ambitious sculpture exhibition designed to celebrate a shared culture of making and collaboration. Burning Man is a unique event that usually takes place annually in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA, and Chatsworth has worked with the Burning Man team and artists to bring its distinctive culture of possibility and creativity to the Derbyshire landscape.

Chatsworth and Burning Man were introduced by Sotheby’s, who saw a synergy between the two organisations in their commitments to creativity and community.

The exhibition features eight existing sculptures and four works built on site, including three new participatory sculptures that will be created in the parkland with the help of visitors and local community groups over the course of the year, mirroring the build process at Burning Man that sees teams of volunteers gathering in the desert to create new artworks.

Free to access and enjoy for all, the exhibition also benefits from a dedicated engagement programme working with communities of people who generally find Chatsworth hard to access, offering activities designed to leave a legacy of creative possibility and new connections with people.

The Burning Man Project produces the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, and works year-round to extend and facilitate the culture that has grown from the event into the larger world.

Kim Cook, Director of Creative Initiatives at Burning Man, said: “We’ve come to understand Chatsworth as a place to foster innovation, creativity, thoughtfulness and thinkers since its early days, something that is also central to our work and ethos at Burning Man. Our hope is that the art in the landscape will provoke joy, new ways of viewing, and be an invitation to make up your own story about meaning as you explore the beautiful expanse of Chatsworth.”

Living With Art We Love

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire are longstanding supporters of artists and makers alike and have collected works throughout their lives. This exhibition brings the artworks that they live with and love into the public areas of the house to share with visitors for the first time.

Specially selected objects include paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics and textiles. Contemporary artworks by Michael Craig Martin, Edmund de Waal, Natasha Daintry and Felicity Aylieff – artists actively collected and commissioned by the Duke and Duchess – are shown alongside historic art from the Devonshire Collections rarely seen in public, including major works by Poussin, Rembrandt and Boltraffio.

The exhibition also includes a special section on ‘Freud at Chatsworth’ dedicated to Lucian Freud, which sees all the artist’s paintings, drawings and prints in the Devonshire Collections on display together in his centenary year. These works span the entirety of Freud’s career and include the major themes of his oeuvre: portraits of his mother, partners, friends, family, and animals. Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, began collecting and commissioning work by Freud after the two men became friends in the late 1940s. Freud spent time at Chatsworth and in total painted six members of the 11th Duke’s family over a period of 20 years.

Alexandra Hodby, Senior Curator of Programme at Chatsworth, said: “It is wonderful to bring together this group of works, which represent the span of Freud’s life, and celebrate his relationship to the Cavendish family over many years. We’re grateful to private lenders, who have allowed us to bring back two paintings which were once part of the Devonshire Collections, and reunite them with the works at Chatsworth.”

Chatsworth supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Matlock Farm Park’s George Finlay shortlisted for national tourism award

Matlock Farm Park’s George Finlay is celebrating after being announced as one of ten finalists in the running for the title of VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2022.

Organised by national tourist board VisitEngland and supported by The Mirror, the Tourism Superstar competition recognises the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry.

The competition invites members of the public to visit mirror.co.uk/travel to watch a short film created for each of the ten finalists and then to vote for their favourite.

Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official destination management organisation, is now leading the campaign to encourage votes for George using the social media hashtag #VOTEGEORGE.

At just 22 years old, George goes above and beyond in his role at one of Derbyshire’s leading tourist attractions to ensure visitors have amazing and unforgettable experiences.

As Farm Supervisor at Matlock Farm Park, George’s responsibilities include running daily animal-based activities for the public – such as meerkat talks and wallaby encounters – looking after the health and welfare of animals and engaging with visitors around the park.

George is particularly passionate about sharing his love for animals with young audiences and he was nominated to be VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2022 because of the enthusiasm, passion, knowledge and dedication that he brings to his role – attributes that win him regular praise on TripAdvisor from visitors from across the UK.

As well as shining a spotlight on individuals who go the extra mile for tourists in the UK, this year’s Tourism Superstar competition also recognises the efforts made by teams across the industry in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2020, during the first Covid-19 lockdown when tourism businesses were closed to the public, George was inspired to create behind-the-scenes social media videos and a YouTube series to bring the farm park to visitors’ homes through the click of a button.

Matlock Farm Park TV has since reached thousands of views online, giving visitors the chance to go behind-the-scenes with entertaining and educational episodes that encourage young people to have a love for animals.

George Finlay, Farm Supervisor at Matlock Farm Park, says: “I am absolutely delighted to be representing the Peak District and Derbyshire in the national finals and to be nominated as Tourism Superstar is an amazing honour.

“I feel incredibly lucky to work in a job where I can share my passion for animals with visitors of all ages from across the UK and Europe, helping them to have rewarding experiences.

“Our amazing destination has so much to offer visitors, and if nothing else, I hope to shine a spotlight on the Peak District and Derbyshire and all it has to offer.”

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “With his knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication to giving visitors of all ages a great experience, George is a fantastic ambassador for the Peak District and Derbyshire’s tourism sector, and we’re absolutely thrilled to see him reach the final.

“This award recognises the people on the ground whose consistent vision and dedication ensures that visitors have a great experience and we encourage local residents, businesses and visitors alike to get behind him using #VOTEGEORGE.”

Watch George Finlay’s nomination video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSmwQU0uKq8.

Vote for George Finlay in the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar competition at mirror.co.uk/travel.

The voting closes on 22 March 2022 and the winning Tourism Superstar will be announced on 26 March 2022 at the end of English Tourism Week 2022 (18-27 March).

Follow the campaign progress on Facebook and Instagram at @visitpeakdistrict and on Twitter at @vpdd – and use the social media hashtag #VOTEGEORGE.

Matlock Farm Park and Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Derbyshire’s visitor economy receives £500,000 boost from community renewal fund

The area’s official destination management organisation has secured £500,000 to boost jobs, encourage growth and support the recovery of visitor economy businesses in the Peak District and Derbyshire following a successful bid to the Government’s Community Renewal Fund.

Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, working in partnership with East Midlands Chamber, the University of Derby, The Food and Drink Forum and Nottingham Business Venture, has been awarded a share of an overall project totalling £1.47 million that will run until 30 June 2022.

Investment in low carbon solutions, business growth, employment, training and digital skills are amongst the key aims of the project, which is set to create jobs and breathe new life into local communities as part of the Government’s commitment to levelling-up the nation and achieving net zero carbon emissions.

Financial support for businesses will include growth vouchers and start-up grants of up to £2,000, plus flexible grant funding of up to £8,000 to help businesses access green solutions, adopt digital technology and receive specialist training.

Activity for the project will be delivered under five key strands, known as ‘Accelerators’, with Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire delivering the support for visitor economy businesses.

The five ‘Accelerators’ in the project are as follows:

• Race to Zero Carbon Accelerator to encourage investment in net zero business practices and to offer financial support for ‘clean growth’ such as the implementation of carbon reduction plans.
• Digital Transformation Accelerator to help businesses implement e-commerce solutions and become online bookable. This will also include collaborative pilots for the cultural and heritage sector to access technology solutions, develop town-based festivals and drive market town footfall.
• Start Up to Scale Up Accelerator to deliver mentoring to help start-ups launch a business idea and grants of up to £2,000 to launch a new business or product.
• The Kickstart Accelerator to deliver training and mentoring support to improve job retention, as well as a wage subsidy to convert a Kickstart or Graduate placement into a new sustained job.
• The Financial Accelerator to offer flexible grant funding of up to £8,000 to help businesses fund digital adoption, carbon reduction solutions and specialist training. Growth vouchers of up to £2,000 will be available for consultancy advice to support business growth and a wage subsidy will be available to support Kickstart or Graduate job retention.

The project also includes feasibility studies into the development of two apps, including a visitor app that would provide real-time data on visitor behaviour, and a transport planning app that would align bus and rail routes to popular destinations in the area.

More information on the Community Renewal Fund project, including the grants programme, can be found at: visitpeakdistrict.com/industry/community-renewal-fund

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “We’re delighted that our Community Renewal Fund bid has been successful, creating a host of new opportunities to drive the post-Covid recovery and long-term growth of visitor economy businesses in the Peak District and Derbyshire

“As highlighted in our Tourism Recovery Plan, our ambition is to become a leading destination in sustainable tourism and this, alongside our ongoing commitment to boosting jobs, skills and growth, clearly aligns with the Government’s aims for the Community Renewal Fund.

“We look forward to working alongside our partners and hope this project will pave the way for future funding to ensure visitor economy businesses can not only survive, but thrive, as we embark on the road to recovery.”

Diane Beresford, Deputy Chief Executive and Community Renewal Fund lead at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The East Midlands Accelerator project will look at what the needs are locally and seek to address them with targeted, bespoke support that brings together key stakeholders across the region – with each strand connected by the golden thread of acceleration.

“We strongly believe these schemes, which will enhance the existing support out there, will have a transformative impact for so many businesses and individuals in the Peak District and Derbyshire.

“This area is a hive of entrepreneurship and we’re looking forward to assisting people to get great ideas off the ground and then scaling them up, while for more established businesses we can help them navigate their net zero and digital transformation journeys.

“We’re also excited about building on our success in the Kickstart Scheme, having been the UK’s largest and most successful gateway organisation in supporting businesses to create more than 1,800 placements in our region.”

Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, East Midlands Chamber, and the University of Derby support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield businesses named amongst nominees for local tourism awards

Some of the most inspirational tourism businesses in the area will be showcased at the Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards, presented at Casa Hotel in Chesterfield on the evening of Thursday 3rd March 2022.

Tickets are now on sale for the glittering awards ceremony which will include a drinks reception and three-course formal dinner in the stylish surroundings of the premier four-star hotel.

Organised for the second year by Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, with support from the European Regional Development Fund, the 2022 awards will celebrate the success and resilience of tourism businesses whilst also highlighting the sector’s vital contribution to the local economy.

Finalists have been shortlisted in 15 categories celebrating the best of the visitor economy, from attractions and accommodation providers to unique experiences and great places to eat and drink.

In recognition of the challenges faced by businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, two new core categories have been added for 2022: the ‘Unsung Hero Award’ and the ‘Resilience and Innovation Award’.

Two new local awards – ‘Team of the Year’ and ‘Tourism Young Achiever’ – have also been added to recognise the thousands of jobs supported by tourism across the Peak District & Derbyshire.

At the awards evening, all Gold winners will be presented with a luxury award designed and made by Derbyshire-based C W Sellors Fine Jewellery & Luxury Watches, whilst Silver and Bronze winners will each receive a certificate identifying them as one of the best tourism businesses in the area.

In a further boost, Gold winners in each of the 13 core categories will automatically progress onto the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2022, which represent the highest accolades in English tourism.

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “Tourism plays a vital role in making the Peak District and Derbyshire such a great place to live, work and visit, and following the enormous challenges of the past two years, never has the sector been more deserving of recognition.

“We hope you’ll join us in celebrating and paying tribute to some of the passionate individuals and inspirational businesses who help attract and welcome millions of visitors to the destination annually, bringing greater prosperity to the area each year. We look forward to seeing you there!”

Tickets are priced at £65 plus VAT and include a drinks reception and formal three-course dinner. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire on 01246 212924, or by emailing industry@marketingpdd.com.

Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards: The 2022 Shortlist

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award

  • Croft Bungalow Accessible Holiday Let, Birchover

B&B and Guest House of the Year

  • Grendon Bed & Breakfast, Buxton
  • Sheldon House, Monyash

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year

  • Landal Sandybrook, Ashbourne
  • Boutique Camping at Scaldersitch Farm, Sheen
  • Beech Croft Farm Caravan & Camping Park, Taddington

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award

  • Landal Darwin Forest, Matlock
  • Fischer’s Baslow Hall
  • Pure Outdoor Ltd

Experience of the Year

  • Drive Dad’s Car, Great British Car Journey
  • myGuidedWalks
  • Pure Outdoor Ltd

Hotel of the Year

  • Casa Hotel, Chesterfield
  • Rafters at Riverside House, Ashford-in-the-Water
  • The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow

New Tourism Business Award

  • Country Luxe Derbyshire
  • Great British Car Journey, Ambergate
  • Manor House Farm Cottages, Sheldon

Pub of the Year

  • The Prince of Wales, Baslow
  • The Devonshire Arms, Pilsley
  • The Yorkshire Bridge Inn, Bamford

Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year

  • Stainsborough Hall, near Wirksworth
  • Manor House Farm Cottages, Sheldon
  • Oaker Farm Holidays, Hope

Taste of the Peak District & Derbyshire Award

  • The George, Alstonefield
  • The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow
  • Fischer’s Baslow Hall

Visitor Attraction of the Year

  • Bluebell Dairy Ltd, Spondon
  • Matlock Farm Park, Matlock
  • Treak Cliff Cavern, Castleton

Resilience & Innovation Award

  • White Peak Distillery, Ambergate
  • Matlock Farm Park, Matlock
  • Treak Cliff Cavern, Castleton

Tourism Young Achiever Award

  • Jack Boam, Tagg Lane Dairy
  • Luke Henshaw, Great British Car Journey
  • George Finlay, Matlock Farm Park

Team of the Year Award

  • Pinelodge Holidays Ltd
  • Rafters at Riverside House
  • The Welcome Team Ltd

Unsung Hero Award

  • Rob Hattersley, Longbow Bars & Restaurants
  • John Whelan, Rafters at Riverside House

For more details see: visitpeakdistrict.com/tourism-awards

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , , , , , ,

Brand new virtual reality games centre opens in Chesterfield

Chesterfield’s visitor offer has received another boost just in time for Christmas, with the opening of a new virtual reality gaming centre.

The fully immersive attraction, Chesterfield VR is the latest addition to the Chesterfield Games Quarter, which is building on the success of the recently-opened Chesterfield Escape Rooms and long-standing favourite, Geeks HQ.

The new Chesterfield VR attraction will be situated alongside the existing Games Quarter businesses in Soresby Street, and will include:

  • 4 state-of-the-art VR gaming stations, utilising HTC Vive Pro headsets and controllers
  • Wide selection of titles available to play each month (approximately 20) , such as Job Simulator, Pistol Whip, Richie’s Plank Experience, Superhot VR, Blade & Sorcery, and many more.
  • Multiplayer gaming available on selected titles: Rhythmatic, Loco Dojo, Synth Riders, Cloudlands VR Minigolf, and many more…
  • Two VR escape rooms, playable with upto 4 players: Racket: NX and FailSpace
  • Shootout and Race nights hosted on Wednesday and Friday nights respectively
  • Private hire available for birthday and Christmas parties, corporate events, socials, etc.

Players will not be restricted to playing one title per visit, they are able to play as many as they wish, in 30 or 60 minute timeslots. Games will also be changed around each month, refreshing the lesser-used titles. The centre will keep followers updated on the regular changes on its social media and email updates.

Manager of Chesterfield VR and Chesterfield Escape Rooms, Nick Hogan commented: “With having over 5000 players through our doors in the first 6 months of business, it gave the management team and I the confidence to invest further in the local economy.

“The vision was always to create a gaming quarter for all different types of gaming needs young and old. We are so excited to open the doors and welcome in the public and who knows, if the public continue to invest their time in the Games Quarter, there might me one or two further things in the pipeline!

“We focused on two things when creating the escape rooms, the playability of the game and customer service. Feedback has been so positive that we have gone into the top 10 UK Escape Rooms as ranked by Trip Advisor and are the only newly established Escape Room in the top 10.”

Bookings are available via the website (www.chesterfieldvr.co.uk), in-store or over the phone: 01246 60 70 02

Chesterfield Escape Rooms supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Celebrate Chesterfield, Christmas, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , , , , , ,

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