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- Cotesbach Educational Trust [CET] is a registered charity & company limited by guarantee, located on the Cotesbach Estate, near Lutterworth in Leicestershire. It was established in 2006 and hosts and provides learning opportunities focusing on Heritage, Environment and the Arts.
- The project to establish CET developed out of a vision generated by Sophy Newton [occupant of Cotesbach Hall and the latest of an almost unbroken line of the Marriott family to live there since 1759].
- The vision centred on the renovation of a Georgian schoolhouse and two other dilapidated buildings on the estate, one of which would house the Marriott family archive. The archive is made up of 6,000 documents including letters, deeds, photographs, sermons and family papers dating back over 400 years. The National Archives in Kew has described the collection as of ‘considerable historical importance’. The vision has been for the archive to act as a catalyst for the restored buildings [plus new-build café] to be used as the base for the development of an educational centre with a focus on heritage, the environment and the arts.
- The strategic direction of the Trust is currently managed by a Board of 9 volunteer Trustees. In the period up to 2012 their focus was on fund raising and organisational ‘set up’. The culmination of this was the award by Heritage Lottery of substantial funds which, together with additional matched funding, enabled the building, renovation and activity ‘set up’ to commence.
- Renovation and the construction of a new-build café space were completed in March 2013 & the centre was officially opened in June 2013.
- Since then the focus has been squarely on completing the cataloguing of the archive so that it can be made available for public access and on developing a programme of activities that fulfils the Trust’s educational remit.
- The operational side of CET has been managed by a part time Project Director, whilst the cataloguing of the Marriott archive has been overseen by Sophy Newton who acts as our Honorary Heritage Manager. They are supported by a part-time Centre Co-ordinator.
- The activities programme that has been established involves a formal offering for schools, informal education opportunities and a community programme. Successful bids have also been made for funds to run discrete educational projects. The facilities are also available for private hire.
- Heritage Lottery Funding is in place until the end of April 2017 at which point CET will need to fund its activities from other sources.