Contributed by Woodbridge Tide Mill
10/02/2021 - Woodbridge Tide Mill
Like everyone Woodbridge Tide Mill has been challenged by the Pandemic. The Mill has used the time productively, reacting to opportunities as lockdown ebbed and flowed in restrictiveness.
A very old wooden building, next to salt water, requires regular maintenance to remain operational. The Mill wheel needs to be turned regularly so that it stays balanced and ages evenly. Worn parts need replacing and events, like the high tides that regularly flood the Mill, require a reaction. The Mill was repainted in May last year, a costly and complicated exercise.
Fulfilling our role as a museum
Visitors have been accommodated when possible. The Mill built and operated an online appointments system for Mill visits. It acquired the Industry Standard ‘Good to Go’ mark meaning it had followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, has a Risk Assessment in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. Much needed income was raised this way.
The Museum, with the help of a grant from Historic England, also used the time to build up it’s online learning resources for pupils and teachers. Animated videos were created featuring a Miller called Sid who explains what it’s like to manage a tide mill. We also started an activities page where children can colour, make models, and get recipes to bake at home.
Our diminished visitors’ fees and donations were also enhanced by building an online shop which enabled the Mill to sell merchandise over Christmas and this is now established as a useful fundraising resource. The Mill’s social media presence was also reinforced with daily posts on facebook, twitter and Pinterest. The Mill won a 2020 Travellers’ Choice Award based on a full year of Tripadvisor reviews, it has a busy YouTube page and is experimenting with a TikTok page.
A better future
The Woodbridge Tide Mill Charitable Trust, under strong leadership from its Chair; John Carrington, is currently working on a means of raising further funds to enhance the Mill’s offering for visitors both in person and online. The objective is to bring the sights and sounds of the working Mill to life virtually, regardless of the tides, ensuring visitors can see the Mill operating regardless of when they visit or how they visit. Better facilities are planned for disabled visitors, group visits and those who visit online.
How can I help?
The Mill is reliant on volunteers and can always use help. With no visitors we no longer need Guides but those that would like to help in this regard should register interest here where you will also find details of becoming a Friend of the Tide Mill. Friends support the Mill financially and, in return, get discounted flour (ordered from the website using a password), newsletters, free entry to the museum with a friend (when open), three newsletters a year and periodic updates, invitations to bespoke events and discounted Mill hire.
All information can be found on the The Tide Mill website
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