Green Scheme Awards
Woodhorn Charitable Trust is delighted that two of its museums have recently received top marks for their green approach to business through the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
Woodhorn may have had a long proud history as a colliery, but now it’s a gold mine – at least as far as the scheme is concerned. Following a recent inspection, the South East Northumberland attraction was given the top accolade of a Gold Award: in the west of the county, Hexham Old Gaol was awarded a well deserved Silver Award – a step up for both museums from last year’s scores. Hexham is now the only museum in the North East to hold silver and Woodhorn only one of four museums in the region to achieve gold.
Businesses joining the Green Tourism scheme are assessed by a qualified grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria. Each business is scored on up to 60 measures covering areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management, and biodiversity. Green Tourism takes into account the needs of the environment, local residents, businesses, and visitors now and in the future.
Keith Merrin, Director of Woodhorn and the Trust, is very proud of Woodhorn and Hexham’s achievements.
“Operating in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way is very important to us. Over the last few years we’ve been working hard to improve our methods and systems to save energy, reduce waste and recycle where we can. We also have measures in place to protect and enhance the natural environment, especially at Woodhorn where our buildings are located on the edge of a country park with a thriving population of red squirrels.
“Several useful features were incorporated into the redevelopment at Woodhorn including rainwater harvesting for the toilets and solar panels for water, but since then other operational systems have been modified to reduce energy use. We’ve gradually been changing light bulbs too, and that’s quite an undertaking at Woodhorn!
“Hexham Old Gaol has been changing light bulbs too, but it’s also been encouraging visitors to be green and use public transport by offering reduced admission to anyone showing a valid bus or train ticket.”
Both museums now feature a Green Information Board for visitors, use recycled paper and environmentally friendly supplies, provide information about the natural environment for visitors, sell locally made crafts, and support local social community projects such as the Christmas Market in Hexham and Sustrans cycling events at Woodhorn.
“There are many more activities and initiatives in place too,” says Keith. “Our visitors will be able to see some in action and they will even be encouraged to get involved themselves. We all have a duty to look after our environment, but we hope that our activities help everyone to care as part of their everyday lives and not see it as a chore. Hopefully it will lead to a greater appreciation and understanding of this amazing world in which we live.”
For more information on the Green Tourism Business Scheme visit: http://www.green-business.co.uk/