Bede’s World could re-open on ‘more commercial footing’, says administrator

Bedes World closed last Friday after the charitable trust which ran it went into administration.
Bedes World closed last Friday after the charitable trust which ran it went into administration.

Plans are being made to re-open a South Tyneside visitor attraction on a more commercial footing, according to its administrator.

Bed’s World, in Jarrow, closed last Friday after the charitable trust which ran it went into administration because of a cash crisis.

Although all operations have ceased and an inevitable break in activities has occurred, the good news as far as I can tell is that the objective is for the site to re-emerge albeit on a more commercial footing

Greg Whitehead

The closure cost 27 workers their jobs.

Greg Whitehead, of North East Restructuring and Insolvency practice Northpoint, was appointed as administrator on Wednesday.

He said: “I will now deal with the charity’s affairs, including its commercial assets on the site, liaison with parties owed money and ensuring that the claims of employees are processed through the government scheme.

“Most of the employees were sent home last week and redundancy notices are being issued for all 27 employees in order their claims can be processed and paid out as soon as possible.”

He added: “Before my appointment, the local council, which owns the land and has provided significant funding to the organisation over a number of years, took control of the site and its contents, including putting 24-hour security in place.

“A detailed inventory of the contents of the site is taking place.

“In my opinion, the steps taken by the council have been important to give some reassurance to the various parties that have an interest in the site.

“Although all operations have ceased and an inevitable break in activities has occurred, the good news as far as I can tell is that the objective is for the site to re-emerge albeit on a more commercial footing.”

Mr Whitehead says he expects the charity to be in administration for between six months and a year, while the board of trustees is no longer in place.

Meanwhile, an online campaign set up by former Bede’s World volunteer Hildy Harland, from Jarrow, to get it reopened is still going strong. The fundraising page has generated more than £3,000 so far. To donate to the campaign, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-bedes-world-museum or search for ‘Save Bedes World Museum’ on Facebook.