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County Durham Charity Welcomes 100th Employee

ByEmily

Oct 18, 2017 #charity

A County Durham charity is celebrating a landmark addition after welcoming its 100th member of staff.

Kathryn Wilson has joined The Auckland Project as a Visitor Experience Officer and will lead the team in running its new Mining Art Gallery which opens later this month.

The 34-year-old, who lives near Consett, County Durham, is the 100th person to join the Project as it works to create a world-class visitor destination in Bishop Auckland.

She joins the team with four years of experience as an engager at Beamish Museum where she found her true calling connecting with visitors after a 12-year career as a solicitor.

In her new role Kathryn will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the Mining Art Gallery, working with a team of The Auckland Project staff and volunteers to engage with visitors and offer insight and information on the artworks on display.

Also working at the gallery are Visitor Services apprentices, Perrie Athey, Alicia Simpson, Will Jowett and Jayellen Dixon.

Opening on Saturday, October 21, the Mining Art Gallery is the first new attraction to be opened by The Auckland Project.

With two floors of artwork, sculpture and original artefacts, the gallery will explore both the underground world of the coalmines and the closely bound communities of the region’s pit villages and colliery towns.

Created in partnership with Dr Robert McManners OBE and Gillian Wales the gallery will provide a permanent home for the Gemini Collection of Mining Art, which includes more than 420 works including powerful artwork from mining artists such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish.

Kathryn, 34, said: “I think it’s fantastic that the Mining Art Gallery is the first to open as it is so rooted in the region’s history.

“It really does celebrate the lives of the working men and wonderful women of the North East communities and the intelligence and dignity of the miners.”

As part of its plans to build a visitor destination of international significance, The Auckland Project aims to provide more than 8,000 opportunities for training and skills development.

Currently, 30 per cent of employees are from Bishop Auckland with 51 per cent from County Durham and 19 per cent travelling to work from the North East.

A further 278 volunteers are developing their skills in areas such as archaeology and horticulture.

And the charity also plans to create 60 further apprenticeships in the next three years, including 34 funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Rebecca Coates, HR Director at The Auckland Project said: “We are delighted to welcome Kathryn as our 100th employee.

“Reaching this milestone reinforces our commitment to working with the skills and talents of the local community to realise our plans.”

The Mining Art Gallery is supported by The Gemini Collection, County Durham Community Foundation, Robert McManners OBE and Stefa McManners, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Banks Community Fund, Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership and The Sir John Priestman Charity Trust.

It will open to the public on Saturday, October 21 and then daily from 10am to 4pm. For more information visit: aucklandproject.org

By Emily