Opening up the story of Derry's railways to everyone

A new project that aims to revitalise the Foyle Valley Railway Museum in Derry has been given the green light, after receiving a grant of almost a quarter of a million pounds from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Destined are excited to announce that the funding received is in respect of a two-year project – the first phase of a longitudinal project.

Whilst Destined are delighted to announce the planned re-opening of the Foyle Valley Railway Museum, unfortunately, due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) the Official Launch of the Foyle Valley Transport and Railway Museum Project and Re-opening of the Museum has been beset with delays.

Aspects of Destined’s multi-faceted National Lottery Heritage funded project include the undertaking of repair works to the existing Museum building, the design and construction of an Interpretive Exhibition and delivery of Tour Guide Training.

Project participant Martha said: "This is a great opportunity for me. We’ll dress in period costumes. My job will be to show visitors around the Museum and tell them all about Derry's Railway History."

Teambuilding Activities and a Summer Programme involving visits to other railway museums are also planned together with the hosting of intergeneration events – where students will have the opportunity to interview people associated with or who remember Derry’s forgotten railways. They’ll also explore and record details of Derry’s evolution as a major transport hub in the 19th and early 20th Century’s to the place it is today.

The Museum will also host a series of seasonal celebration events throughout the lifetime of the Project.

The project will run from summer 2020 until summer 2022, concluding with an exhibition at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum showcasing the discoveries and achievements of the project participants.

The initiative will be led by people with learning Disabilities and students from local schools and colleges. The funding will help revitalise and transform the west bank of the River Foyle (to the south of the Craigavon Bridge) and will also go towards community events, and a cultural research project. A great deal of preparatory work has been undertaken behind the scenes to welcome volunteers and visitors.

Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland, the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“At the beginning of March 2020, we were delighted to award Destined a National Lottery grant of £242,100, to refurbish and re-open the Foyle Valley Railway Museum. Thanks to National Lottery players, we’ve also been able to support the project with emergency funding, to help cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a fantastic project which will see the unique heritage of the railways preserved, but also provide new opportunities for young people to shape and tell that story. We believe that heritage should be accessible for everyone, and Destined are a perfect example of a group who place that at the heart of what they do.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone at Destined on their achievements to date and wish them all the best with their safe re-opening in the near future.”

Caroline O’Hara, Project Manager, Destined said. “We’re passionate about involving young people and providing opportunities for them to learn about heritage. This National Lottery Heritage Fund enables them to bring a fresh perspective, energy and creativity to the Project. It’s an excellent example of how young people can have fun while getting involved, making decisions, developing new skills and interests, and connecting with their local community.

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