Loughborough’s history at visitors’ fingertips thanks to Town Deal-backed project
Posted: Tue, 01 Aug 2023 11:37
Loughborough's history will be brought to life by an augmented reality heritage trail being launched in the town.
The Discover Loughborough Heritage Trail will help people find out more about the town's rich heritage at 15 fascinating locations.
People will be able to simply scan a QR code on their mobile phones to access images and pictures about each place. A specially recorded narrative will also play at each location so people can hear the story of Loughborough's past.
The initiative is part of the £2.87 million Living Loughborough project which is being led by Charnwood Borough Council, in partnership with Love Loughborough BID.
The project will also see more events held in the town centre and, investment in the town markets and the CCTV system. Free wi-fi in the town centre has already been extended as part of the project the extension of free wi-fi across the town centre.
The funding has come from Loughborough Town Deal which secured £16.9 million from the Government's Towns Fund. It is backing 11 projects, which in total are worth more than £40 million of investment for the town.
Cllr Jennifer Tillotson, the Council's lead member for Economic Development, Regeneration and Town Centres, said: "This is another exciting element of the Living Loughborough project which will see a number of improvements in the town.
"Loughborough has a rich history which we are proud of, and this heritage trail is a fantastic way of displaying that."
Lisa Brown, BID manager, said: "The Living Loughborough project is all about improving the town centre for residents, visitors and business owners.
"The augmented reality heritage trail will showcase Loughborough's history and heritage and will encourage more footfall in the town centre as people learn about and visit interesting landmarks which are in Loughborough."
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Loughborough Town Deal Chair, said: "Loughborough Town Deal is investing in a wide range of projects across the town which will bring real benefits to our residents, businesses and visitors.
"Our town's heritage is so interesting and important to our communities, and to those who visit Loughborough. The heritage trail is an innovative new feature, which could help visitors stay a little longer, as well as share our history with more residents in a very accessible, engaging way."
People will be able to access the trail by downloading the Loyal Free App and scanning QR codes at the 15 locations which include Queen's Park, Loughborough Bells, Great Central Railway and Charnwood Museum.
Love Loughborough has worked with Leicestershire Promotions Ltd to create the trail.
Love Loughborough will be operating a stall on Loughborough Market on Thursday August 3. They will be giving out 100 cupcakes to the first 100 people that complete the Heritage Trail.
The Living Loughborough project includes:
- the introduction of new interactive digital trails to encourage people to explore the town centre and its heritage. The trails will feature augmented reality which means they will be able to 'see into the past' using a mobile phone app.
- holding more events
- digital signage to showcase local events and information
- investment in Loughborough Markets including:
- flexibility to create areas to hold different types of events
- addition of a covered area in Southfields Park to hold events
- improvements to the town centre CCTV network
- the creation of a new post with Love Loughborough to support crime reduction in the town centre including the purchase of 100 new radios for traders as part of the retail radio scheme
- more 1-2-1 support for businesses on topics including using digital technology and marketing
- improvements to Queen's Park including to the entrances from Granby Street and Granby Street car park, the addition of new information points, new lighting to the bandstand and improved lighting of the Carillon Tower.
- the expansion of free public wi-fi in the town centre to include Ward's End, Devonshire Square, Bedford Square and Queen's Park
So far, Loughborough Town Deal has already invested over £2 million in Loughborough to create a Careers and Enterprise Hub and to support the regeneration of Bedford Square, Ward's End and Devonshire Square.
It has also committed:
- £2.6 million to create a Digital Skills Hub at Loughborough College
- £835,000 to help save Taylor's Bell Foundry, the last major bell foundry in the UK
- £885,000 to fund towpath improvements alongside the River Soar
- £1.6 million to a creative arts hub at the Generator
- £2.5 million to support the Health and Innovative Loughborough project
- £280,000 towards the creation of a heritage locomotive works and education centre at Great Central Railway
- £669,000 for the Lanes and Links project including the Hope Bell
Loughborough Town Deal's committed investment has now reached almost £15 million.