A Q&A with Heather McLaughlin tells us about new community space; Discover Letchworth.
Heather, Discover Letchworth is a fresh, new, contemporary space. Can you give us the lowdown?
Yes! We want Discover Letchworth to be a welcoming and vibrant new space in the centre of town, where the community and visitors are welcome to drop in and find out about all things Letchworth. Whether you’re looking for information about what’s on, places to see, local services or looking for something to do, we have a range of information, leaflets, maps and trails available for everyone. Letchworth has so much to offer residents of the town as well as visitors from further afield, so we’ve developed an accessible one stop shop as a gateway to the Garden City.
You used to be the Tourist Information Centre, what has changed?
That’s right and Discover Letchworth very much builds on and enhances the service provided by the former tourist information centre on Station Road.
The transformation started with a service design project engaging the community to uncover what facilities they were looking for and what was missing and find out how the service could be developed and improved. Discover Letchworth is the result: an all-encompassing, interactive community hub with access to everything about Letchworth. As well as a wealth of information about what do and see in the town and surrounding areas, we have a much greater emphasis on working in partnership with the community, with the ability for partner organisations to have a presence within the centre’s pop-up space through which they can reach and engage with the community.
What else is different?
We’re very excited to be located right next door to the newly launched Museum at One Garden City, also known as Museum@1GC, aptly named after our base at One Garden City, Broadway, where the Heritage Foundation offices are also sited. It’s a perfect location for a community hub: in the centre of the town and only five minutes’ walk from the railway station. We’re also next to Morrisons, so it’s easy to park and pop in.
Is Discover Letchworth online?
Absolutely! We’re thrilled with the new Discover Letchworth website which offers information about what to do, explore and see, places to visit, clubs and groups as well as the Garden City’s popular Greenway. There’s an interactive touch screen facility in the new space for people to search the website, as well as a huge floor to ceiling wall map of Letchworth. Having a presence online means prospective visitors to Letchworth from further afield will be encouraged to come and find out more about what this unique town has to offer.
The website also has a free directory where clubs and groups can upload a profile of their organisation and their events to promote themselves. This is a service that we’re offering for any not-for-profit organisation. Take a look and tell us what you think.
And what about you? What do you like doing in Letchworth?
I love having the time to walk and explore the town, with its wide avenues and green spaces such as Norton Common and the Greenway. They make taking a walk extra special and I enjoy discovering parts of Letchworth that are lesser known or even new to me. We’re lucky that much of the town’s varied architecture and heritage is protected and unique to the Garden City. The trees are always stunning, particularly in autumn and of course town attractions such as the Broadway Cinema and Theatre and the delightful David’s Bookshop are always worth a visit.
Discover Letchworth and the town's new Micro Museum next door, seem to be having a bit of a moment?
There’s definitely a lot happening. We’ve welcomed over 400 people to these new visitor experiences in our first week alone, which shows there’s an appetite for being out and about in Letchworth. There’s a real buzz about the town. We have so many new places to eat and lovely independent shops. And the arts and cultural scene is exploding. Discover Letchworth is the perfect gateway to the world’s first Garden City and were thrilled to help people start their journey here.
When can we pop in?
We’re open from 10am-4pm, Monday to Saturday. Hope to see you soon!