Museum Statement 2020.
I have decided to release this official statement due to the fact that several factually incorrect and potentially upsetting posts have recently appeared on several Facebook sites and these have had a detrimental effect on the good work that the volunteers at the Museum are currently doing.
PLEASE NOTE :- The Museum is currently closed to the general public but private visits to see the vehicle collection can be arranged if given sufficient notice. A limited research facility is still functional and of course all of our volunteers are still working incredibky hard on a number of resteration projects.
Firstly we would like to thank North Lincolnshire Council for the use of our current facility. It is greatly appreciated that they stepped in and found us a home which, in effect, has saved the collection from the very real possibility of being disbanded and the history of the RAF Fire Service vehicles, equipment and memorabilia that has been built up over the years being lost for ever. We are in discussions with North Lincolnshire Council about staying in situ, but these negotiations are complex and invariably centre on the touchy subject of money.
The Council own the building and as such they have a duty to achieve the best return for the tax payers of the local area. The building is currently advertised on the market for a commercial rent of £19000 a month. Clearly, no Museum can afford that sort of rent, but it must be remembered that this is commercial rent. What we are looking for is a charitable let! Hopefully this is something that will happen but in the meantime, we have to try and safeguard the future of the Museum and that is why are looking for a new home.
The building we currently occupy is 85000 square feet and it has everything that we need to not only open the Museum to the general public, but to also be able to develop the Museum into a first class tourist attraction and community hub. In simple terms, we have good access by road, rail, air and sea making it ideal for visitors including those from overseas. We have ample car parking, we are all on one level, and we have plenty of toilets and disabled facilities. There is plenty of room to support Museum activities including the display of vehicles and artifacts, a workshop area, library/research facility, café, shop, and plenty of storage space both indoor and out. There is a large concrete yard that will enable us to mount displays and attract larger exhibits for open days. There are attractive grounds where our visitors can relax and enjoy a picnic. The building itself is modern, well maintained, well-lit and energy efficient. We also consider it to be future proof. this will allow us to expand our collection and visitor experience for years to come. To find somewhere that offers the same opportunities at a price that we can afford is a big ask, but believe me we are exploring EVERY possibility! At this moment in time, staying in Lincolnshire is our prime consideration because it is the spiritual home of the RAF and is known world wide as bomber county.
Our 40 volunteers are key to the Museums existence and continued survival. Last year alone volunteers completed over 10000 man hours working to support the Museum and its development. We are ALL volunteers, there are no paid staff, no fuel allowances, just a desire to establish a permanent home for the collection so that we can all enjoy our proud heritage. The volunteers are what makes the Museum. Countless comments are recorded about the passion and interaction of the Volunteers. Without this core of committed volunteers we would have to start again if we were to relocate outside of the county, it’s too much to ask for our volunteers to travel any further above the current distances.
If you would like to help in a practical way, please consider joining our standing order supporters’ scheme. Without visitors, we can’t make money, without money we can’t pay bills and rent. If you want to see the Museum survive, we need your financial support please follow the link below to the page of the museum website containing details of how to set up a standing order.
Finally, please don’t listen to those who think they know what’s happening. Talk to those who do know what’s happening. It isn’t difficult to get in touch. We have no intention of selling any of the collection at this time, after 36 years of building this up we are committed to keeping it together for the greater good and enjoyment for all.
Steve Shirley MBE, GIFireE
Museum of RAF Firefighting