Stratford-upon-Avon visitor centre reopens with college help

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A visitor centre has reopened nearly two years after it was forced to close.

The Stratford-upon-Avon Visitor Information Centre (VIC) is being run in partnership with the town's district council and its college.

The centre, in Bridgefoot, will cost £1m over five years and employ 13 people and up to 10 apprentices.

It had closed when South Warwickshire Tourism Ltd, which traded under the name Shakespeare Country, folded in April 2010.

A temporary centre was set up in Henley Street, in the interim.

Peter Ward-Brown, VIC manager, said: "For visitor centres to survive they have to become self-financing - our top priority is to get the centre to stand on its own."

'True team effort'

He said the council had spent roughly £50,000 refurbishing the centre in Bridgefoot, which includes a new cafe, and the college would be funding two full time and three part time staff.

Mr Ward-Brown said three apprentices have already started working at the centre and a further seven could be recruited over the course of the project.

He said: "The apprentices will be farmed out to other tourist projects in the area to broaden their experiences while they're working in the industry."

Councillor Valerie Hobbs said: "This has been a true team effort - a lot of work has gone into refitting and refurbishing Bridgefoot which reflects good partnership working between the college and the council."

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