An Adopt-a-Stone campaign is launched today by the Hadrian’s Wall Trust as it strives to allay a potential funding crisis.
Individual and corporate sponsors are invited to attach their names to a stone, not on Hadrian’s Wall itself but on a virtual realisation of it on the website adoptastone.co.uk.
Volunteers are also being sought for a Wall Watch scheme aimed at keeping the World Heritage Site and adjoining Hadrian’s Wall Path, one of the country’s network of National Trails, in good condition.
Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of the trust which was set up in 2006 to oversee the management of the historic site, said the measures were to stave off what could be a serious situation for Hadrian’s Wall. She said the World Heritage Site lost more than £1m a year when the regional development agencies, including One North East, were wound up and was set to lose 40% of its funding from Natural England for the popular path which costs £200,000 a year to maintain.
While local authorities along the wall had responded to a call for extra funding, she feared their budgets would be further squeezed.
Ms Tuttiett said the trust’s full-time staff had been reduced from 21 to 10, meaning it was increasingly difficult to maintain the quality of the trail on whose popularity the wall and many small businesses depend.
“Following severe funding cuts over the last two years we need to raise a minimum of an additional £170,000 a year to continue to meet the standards which are essential for the protection of the World Heritage Site and to maintain and develop visitor management,” she said.
“The budget for the maintenance of the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail suffered a major reduction this year and now also needs additional support. We are determined to maintain the trail in excellent condition.
“The World Heritage Site is a national asset which attracts visitor spend of over £880m per year to the north of England. We want to give more people better access to all the World Heritage Site has to offer, from west Cumbria to Tyneside.”
She hoped people would respond to the new website where stones can be adopted along with 162 turrets and 80 milecastles.
“We’re asking everyone who cares about Hadrian’s Wall to help if they can by adopting part of the wall,” she said. “The website is fun to use with a small army of Roman characters.”
She said the trust had led on £15m investment into the World Heritage Site and aimed to raise a further £20m to secure its future in time for the 1,900th anniversary in 2022.
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