The Historic Dockyard Chatham supports more than 500 jobs and brings in around £16m into the local economy, according to a recently completed report on its economic impact to Kent and Medway – undertaken by DC Research. The report, which considers all operations, beyond merely the impact on visitors, demonstrates that the dockyard is now contributing in excess of £16m to the local economy each year, with growth still to come.
Bill Ferris OBE, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said; “As a charity we are driven by our twin objectives of preservation and education but since our formation in 1984 we have also been committed to playing an active role in the regeneration of Medway, through our strategy of re-using historic buildings for productive purposes and developing a vibrant tourism destination. This study demonstrates that this strategy is now making substantial returns on the investment in this amazing place”.
The stated annual economic value of more than £16m a year, with more than 500 jobs generated and 350 students educated on the site is itself impressive compared with many traditional independent museums and heritage sites and demonstrates an incontestable regeneration impact. This metric will grow to over £20m when the student numbers rise to 650 in 2014.
Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust was established by government in 1984 to develop and implement a charitable based business model to secure the future of the internationally significant 80 acre heritage site formally under the ownership and management of HM Government when it formed part of the much larger Naval Base complex. In a poor state of repair its 100 buildings and structures, 47 of which are Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAM), were estimated to require £20m+ of investment just to make them wind and weather tight. Government provided the Trust with £11m at the time of which £3.2m had already been committed to the repair of a single building, the ¼ mile long Ropery. Their scale, poor repair, historic significance and location in the post-industrial Medway Towns, where unemployment was at 27% following the Navy’s withdrawal, made the challenge of creating a sustainable future for the site via the achievement of the twin charitable goals of preservation and education a daunting one by any standards. CHDT has made remarkable progress in creating a truly sustainable future for the site and our education services which also contributes in a broader sense to Medway. More still needs to be done and we are committed to maintaining momentum.