Pupils from Cayton Primary School have written to The Scarborough News in support of the expansion of Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre.
The youngsters decided to make their voices heard after being told they couldn’t visit the centre in Eastborough as a whole class because the premises are too small.
The Year 6 class had been studying Scarborough’s local seafaring heritage as their main history topic.
As part of their studies, their teacher, Dee McCulloch, attempted to organise a trip to visit the centre.
However, she was told that due to the size of the premises, only 10 people can visit at any one time.
Instead, volunteers Lindy and Tom Rowley offered to visit the children at their school, teaching them about Scarborough’s heritage and the significant maritime role that it played.
Greatly inspired and fascinated by this, the pupils decided to write to The Scarborough News advocating the expansion of the Heritage Centre, and outlining ways that it could raise enough funds to move to a larger premises.
Mrs McCulloch said: “I hope that you will take the time to read some of their heartfelt letters and consider running a feature about the centre.
“It is indeed a hidden treasure and our seafaring heritage is an important and untapped topic for local children who live outside the main town centre.”
Amelia Clegg, one of the pupils, succinctly explains their aims: “We would like to help the centre expand, allowing whole classes to visit together”.
She added: “The visitors were fantastic and we were all very interested to see their artefacts and to hear the real seafaring stories.”
The children go on to offer suggestions as to how funds could be raised, with Jade Mills proposing that the centre “could start charging £2 for adults and £1 for children” to enter.
Finley Ward said: “More public awareness of the centre might bring about the chance of expansion or relocation.”
Josh Jamieson told The Scarborough News that the centre is a “hidden treasure” and that the visitors who came to talk to them were “outstanding”.
He added that hopefully if people read about it in the paper, it could help the centre expand.
Ellie-May Smith agreed, saying: “I really want you to raise enough awareness of the excellent centre so they can move to bigger premises.”
The children also came up with slogans to further their cause, including “Maritime Matters!” and “Help our Heritage!”.
Lindy Rowley, one of the centre’s founder members, said: “We’re really, really pleased with their reaction.
“The class were wonderful - they listened intently to everything and asked lots of questions afterwards.
“They asked Tom a lot of questions about fishing as he said he’d been doing it since he was 10 years old, which was about their age.”
Lindy added that both her and Tom were impressed with their knowledge on the subject, having studied it in class.
She explained that everyone at the centre would love to move to bigger premises, but that the main stumbling block was money.
Lindy said: “When we told the children we could only have 10 people in the centre at a time, the children were surprised and the teachers said it was a real shame too.
“We can arrange visits in small groups, but it can be a difficult thing to do.
“It all comes down to funding, which is a big problem at the moment. We do apply for grants, but we don’t always get them.
“We’re all volunteers and we do the best we can, but grant applications can be quite tricky so we could do with some help from people who have expertise in that area.”
Lindy is hoping that members will soon be meeting with Seachange, a community trust which can offer advice on funding issues.
She said the ultimate goal would be a premises on West Pier, right next to Scarborough Harbour, adding: “We’re not after somewhere massive - just somewhere big enough to be able to welcome bigger groups and have all our artefacts out on display.”
At the moment, the volunteers are having to rent a warehouse to store an overflow of items which will not fit into the Eastborough premises.
These include books, pictures and models which the volunteers would love to have out on display.
Lindy said that whenever a suitable premises becomes available, they always go and have a look - but that it always comes down to the problem of money.
However, Lindy and the volunteers are still hopeful that their dreams will become a reality in the future.
She said that they will keep working towards getting bigger premises and will be very grateful for any assistance.
People are more than welcome to call in to the centre at 36 Eastborough to find out more.
It is open Wednesdays to Sundays, from 11am to 4pm.