Tourists to Falkirk landmark asked to chip in

Callendar House gains five star tourist accreditation''Picture: Michael Gillen
Callendar House gains five star tourist accreditation''Picture: Michael Gillen

Visitors to Callendar House are being encouraged to put their hands in their pockets when they tour the historic landmark.

Although admission is free, Falkirk Community Trust has installed a donation box in a bid to encourage funding contributions – a common practice in museums, historic properties and galleries up and down the country.

Chief executive Maureen Campbell said it had attracted a “steady stream” of cash and the trust is now looking to introduce similar boxes at venues across the district.

The information was revealed in the latest annual report from the community trust, which operates arts, leisure and sporting facilities on behalf of Falkirk Council.

It manages over 80 sites across the district, employs 481 staff and has a turnover of £18.2 million.

The majority of the not-for-profit organisation’s income – over £12 million (67 per cent), comes from Falkirk Council’s service fee, although this is down by two per cent in the last year. Sport is the next biggest income generator bringing in £2.425 million.

In only its first year, the Helix brought in £650,000.

Ian Scott, trust chairman, said it had been a “fruitful” year, with highlights including Callendar House securing five-star status from VisitScotland and Falkirk winning a Creative Places Award.

He said: “It is the day-to-day attendance by people across all our venues that is the lifeblood of the trust and which is so satisfying for the board members and our staff.

“Growing our customer base is a vital element of our growth strategy and continued success, particularly in our health and fitness offer, with increased classes, increased membership and increased income.”

Admission to the circuit clubs in the Mariner, Grangemouth and Bo’ness sports centres was up by 30 per cent with 3673 monthly members.

Although there was a 15 per cent increase in visits to Callendar House, admissions were down to the Park Gallery (30 per cent), Hippodrome (15 per cent) and Falkirk Town Hall (7.5 per cent).

The number of library books being issued was also four per cent lower, despite new members rising by 7351 (15 per cent). However, there was a 12 per cent increase in the number of people using the public access computers in libraries.