Launch Sponsor Announced for the Discovery Hubs

A leading tourism and leisure business that has operated in Norfolk and Suffolk’s iconic Broads National Park for nearly 80 years, has been named as the launch partner and lead sponsor of the area’s distinctive new network of visitor hubs, currently being built in popular locations across the area. Richardsons Leisure Limited led by chief executive Greg Munford, is providing significant funding in a three-year sponsorship deal which will support the completion of the network of Hubs and fund the position of a ranger. The ranger will work across the sites of the existing three Discovery Hubs, all of which will be open in early summer, and will follow through as more Hubs are constructed.

The concept of the Discovery Hub network was conceived by the Broads Charitable Trust to promote the National Park to visitors and local people and encourage sustainable exploration by bike, boat or on foot. As information points, they will explain the history, wildlife and landscape of the area and will encourage people to visit the many and varied aspects of the National Park.

The dedicated ranger, contracted by the Trust, will engage with visitors, residents and young people with new and exciting ways to explore and learn about the National Park, using the Hubs as bases for exploration.

The ambition of the project is to provide multiple linked Discovery Hubs, interpretation points and wayfinding across the Broads in the next three years. The first three Hubs will be open on Great Yarmouth Seafront, at Salhouse Broads and on Beccles quay by early July.

Additionally, the Hubs will raise the profile of the Broads Trust’s ‘Love the Broads’ fundraising scheme, attracting more donations to support much needed investment in projects around the Broads.

Greg Munford, chief executive of Richardsons Leisure Limited said “The Richardson’s Boating Holidays story began in 1944 when Mr Robert Richardson Jnr purchased his first motor cruiser and started offering boating holidays on the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

“Today, operating from Stalham Marina, Richardson’s now has the largest holiday charter fleet in the Broads National Park, and we are extremely proud to be the launch partner and main sponsor of the new network of Discovery Hubs, which enables visitors to discover the natural beauty and hidden corners of this unique and beautiful area.

“We believe strongly in encouraging local people and visitors to enjoy the outdoors on foot, by bike or on the water and we look forward to supporting the Broads Trust with this ambitious and innovative project.

“This sponsorship is part of our continued commitment to invest in community initiatives in areas where we operate, and which are for the benefit of all stakeholders, businesses and visitors alike,” said Greg.

The Broads National Park is Britain’s largest protected wetland. It has 28 sites of special scientific interest, numerous national and local nature reserves and is home to a quarter of the UK’s rarest species. Its wildlife, magical waterways and rich history are unique.

Each Discovery Hub has been developed and built by the Trust with funding from local charities and stakeholders and is distinctive in design. There will be a local business sponsorship package available in each area to allow businesses to get behind the scheme.

Peter Howe, a trustee of The Broads Charitable Trust said, “We are delighted that a business synonymous with The Broads is to be our launch partner in such an important project.

“Richardson’s has been supporting leisure activities within the area for eight decades and we are honoured that Greg and his team are so excited about this project, which has the aim of improving access to all the hidden gems within The Broads and providing information and inspiration about how to access and travel through the National Park by boat, by bike and on foot.

“The Hubs are an important resource in helping visitors to understand and enjoy what we have here and importantly stimulate curiosity to grow an understanding of how precious the National Park is.

“There will be a range of educational and outdoor recreational opportunities for local schools, with study days and other events – all contributing to a better understanding and enjoyment of this unique region,” said Peter.