Maritime centre up for prizes at double

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A NORTH Sea tourist attraction is in the running for two awards.

Newbiggin Maritime Centre has been shortlisted in two categories for this year’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors North East Renaissance Awards for environmental and construction projects.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Newcastle Civic Centre next month.

The centre, pictured, opened last year, has been shortlisted for prizes for tourism and leisure and for community benefit.

Ben Smith, chairman of the board running the centre, said: “It is fantastic that Newbiggin Maritime Centre has been shortlisted for these awards.

“The project, led by Newbiggin Heritage Partnership, took many years and a huge amount of effort by a dedicated team of volunteers to come to fruition.

“The award categories reflect what the centre is all about – developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the town while at the same time providing a first-class community resource.”

Since the centre’s opening last July, visitor numbers have exceeded expectations to the extent that its opening times have had to be extended.

It is now open seven days a week throughout the year, welcoming thousands of visitors from all over the region and beyond.

The extensive community programme includes activities as diverse as an innovative genealogy project aiming to develop a community tree, regular film screenings, seasonal food events and space for local artists and crafters to display and sell their work.