Friends of Exploris / Save Exploris
A group of local people established the Friends of Exploris, and are leading the “Save Exploris” campaign. We are now setting up a Trust to ensure that Exploris remains open, its operation is improved and to guide and support it into the future.
Local people are essential to Exploris’ future success and many of you have expressed the deep love and affection that you and your children have for what is finally becoming “our aquarium”.
The Board of the Trust will be firmly rooted in the local community and is supported by Portaferry Community Collective, representing all the town’s community groups, Portaferry Regeneration Ltd. and individual local residents and businesses. Board members will have extensive experience in aquarium and visitor attraction management, tourism, finance, marine science and environmental education and most will be well known in the town.
We believe that Exploris should work to reduce its deficit but the priority now is to get central Government intervention to halt the plans to close it in view of its services to education, wildlife conservation, scientific research and tourism. We are meeting with the Minister for the Environment, Mark Durkan, to enlist his help and with many other politicians and senior officials over the coming weeks.
At the same time we are looking at models to improve the Aquarium’s long term management and operation which include public / private sector partnerships and other mechanisms that would make Exploris once more a centre of excellence as an aquarium, a marine and coastal education facility and a visitor attraction.
Exploris attracts approx. 100,000 visitors to this area every year
Each year it brings £3m to the local economy
We thank Ards Borough Council for supporting Exploris financially down through the years but it is time for a change not just in funding but also in the way Exploris is operated and managed.
We are setting up ways to keep you up to date including a website and meetings.
In the meantime if you want to get in touch with us:
Friends of Exploris, c/o No. 30 The Square, Portaferry