£680,000 funding package for Conkers

East Midlands tourist attraction Conkers has expanded both its educational and entertainment facilities and opened an 80-seat 4D cinema following a £681,500 funding package from Santander Corporate & Commercial.

Conkers, a 120-acre space of maturing woodlands, lakes, ponds and play areas for children which also includes indoor interactive exhibits, opened in 2001. It has now had over 3.4 million visitors and is seen as a key element in the development of a sustainable tourism economy within the National Forest.

The funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial will be invested in the refurbishment of Conkers’ main visitor centre to include the new 4D cinema. The cinema will provide an interactive experience to day visitors and a wet weather option and will also help broaden the education package offered to schools and groups and the growth of educational tours during term times. The cinema has also been supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Paul Richardson, relationship director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Conkers recognises that it needs to regularly reinvent its offering to customers to keep its visitor numbers up and is always looking at ways to diversify. We have been impressed by the dedication of the management team in ensuring it remains a sustainable attraction while also appealing to a wide audience”.

Mike Ballantyne, director of the National Forest Charitable Trust, said: “Santander’s understanding of our business and how we generate income, as well as our day to day banking needs, has been a huge support in recent months. As a tourist attraction we have to constantly refresh our offerings to visitors to bring people back year on year. We are confident that the new cinema will help us to do this by providing an interactive educational experience”.