The Borderlands Partnership Board met this week at Ad Gefrin museum and distillery ahead of the attraction’s six month anniversary.
The venue in Wooler opened at the end of March with a unique offering of an Anglo-Saxon Museum, a whisky distillery and a café and bistro, bringing new depth to the visitor experience and tourism experience in the Borderlands.
Ad Gefrin received £4million through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to regenerate the site of a disused haulage yard and create more than 50 fulltime jobs.
This UK Government funded support was part of the overall £13.8m project.
Since opening the attraction has welcomed 29,000 visitors and helped increase tourist footfall to Wooler and north Northumberland.
The name Ad Gefrin comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for Yeavering, a nearby hamlet which was an important royal site in the 7th century kingdom of Northumbria.
In the modern era it is now England’s northernmost distillery working on producing the first ever Northumbrian single malt whisky.
Eileen Ferguson, co-founder of Ad Gefrin, said:
"I’m so happy we got to welcome the Partnership Board today because the funding from Borderlands helped make my dream for Ad Gefrin come true.
"We knew this was the best site in Northumberland for a visitor experience as well as a distillery with its historical Anglo Saxon connections through Yeavering.
"We are telling a story which hasn’t been told before and judging by the fantastic numbers already coming through our doors it seems the public has a desire to hear it."
The Borderlands Partnership Board meets quarterly but this is the first time it has met at a project funded by the Deal.
It comprises the leaders of the Borderlands’ five councils – Cumberland, Dumfries and Galloway, Northumberland, Scottish Borders and Westmorland and Furness – and the Chair of the Economic Forum.
At this session members approved a new Energy Investment Strategy, endorsed the Stranraer Place Plan and received updates on projects such as Carlisle Station Gateway and the University of Cumbria Citadels Campus.
With business concluded the Board was then given a tour of Ad Gefrin including the Great Hall, Cask Store and Gift Shop.
Cllr Mark Fryer, Leader of Cumberland Council and Co-Chair of the Borderlands Partnership Board, said:
"It was a pleasure chairing today’s meeting at Ad Gefrin and was well worth the journey from west Cumbria to Wooler.
"This high quality attraction has created dozens of jobs, many of which have been taken up by local people, and is bringing in new and repeat visitors to this part of the region.
"The Board is pleased that Borderlands projects which have been in the pipeline for many years are now coming to fruition and realising the benefits which the Deal intended."
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal is a 10 year programme of investment, supported by both the UK and Scottish Governments, to deliver sustainable and inclusive economic benefits across the North of England and South of Scotland.
The Borderlands Partnership Board will meet again on December 6th.