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Catalyst fights for survival and hopes to expand
A CASH crisis is threatening the future of a top Halton tourist attraction.
Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes, has lost £70,000 in Government grants, 20 per cent of its income.
However, the chemical museum, which employs 14 staff, is confident its unique role will help it to survive.
Interactive workshops and dynamic displays already bring science to life for 26,000 visitors a year In an exclusive interview, museum director, Stephen Youd-Thomas, aged 42, spoke about his hopes and fears for 2013.
He said: “We have managed to overcome the immediate crisis, but January and February will be just as challenging.
“We need to bring on board new partners and new funds.”
Catalyst, he stressed, has a vital role to play in motivating children to explore science careers, and provides a precious historic resource.
He said: “We make science fun, interesting and engaging.
“We contain almost all of Halton’s industrial heritage, information related to business and people and how it impacted on the local community. We’ve got a record of how the borough has been shaped over the decades in our archives.”
Catalyst provides training sessions for teachers and hires facilities to local businesses.
It has diversified to offer overnight stays for scouts and brownies and hosted children’s parties.
Its glass top observatory will give visitors an aerial view of the construction of Halton’s new bridge.
Mr Youd-Thomas said: “We believe are are uniquely placed to deliver a visitor centre for the Mersey Gateway. The bridge will constitute an amazing display of science, technology, engineering and maths.
“We have the passion, skills and experience to provide this new facility, as well as a car park and cafe.
“The Royal Society of Chemisty, a national professional body highly respected across the world, is looking at more ways to work with us.
“We want to secure our future. Our vision is to see our numbers continue to grow.”