It was announced today that the Cadw scheme that has allowed under 16s and over 60s free into ancient monunent sites, is to be scrapped. It is obvious that in an age of economic austerity there will be casualties, however this is a very unwelcome one as far as the History Society is concerned. Many members have taken advantage of the pass and it has also been a factor when choosing historical visits. Ironically, the scheme seems to have been a victim of a lack of use, which raises the question as to how hard it has been advertised. One wonders how long free entrance to museums will be maintained after this development.
Here is a full transcript from the BBC news site. Cadw: Heritage Minister scraps free age group entry Cadw will look at new ways of attracting visitors to attractions such as Rhuddlan Castle, Denbighshire Continue reading the main story People over 60 and under 16 will no longer be allowed to visit many of Wales' historic sites for free.
Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said the policy had failed to attract lower-waged families and site operator Cadw would now consider other methods. The scheme, which began in 2008 and will end on 1 June, costs the Welsh Assembly Government around £130,000 a year. Age Concern Cymru said it was "a shame" the decision had been made. Since its launch two and a half years ago, some 30,000 free entry passes have been issued under the scheme, said the assembly government. Of these 84% were for people aged 60 and over, while 16% were for children aged 16 or under. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote We see very little indication that the initiative has attracted many lower-waged families” End Quote Alun Ffred Jones Heritage Minister Although more than 39,000 visits were made using these passes, this amounted to just 1.5% of the 1.2m people a year visiting Cadw sites where there is an admission charge. Of Cadw's 127 sites in Wales, 97 are not staffed and charge no admission fee. The assembly government confirmed that passes already issued under the existing scheme would be honoured until their expiry date. Mr Jones said Cadw officials had reviewed the policy's effectiveness and the findings had shown that the scheme had not attracted groups under-represented as visitors. "We see very little indication that the initiative has attracted many lower waged families - a key issue that the policy was introduced to address." Mr Jones said research had shown that free-of-charge open days and programmes of special events with an admission charge had greater appeal to a wider audience. Continue reading the main story CADW'S NEW ADMISSIONS PRIORITIES Retain free admission policy for education and learning visits, visitors with disabilities and other targeted incentives Develop and expand community events and learning festivals, targeting key areas of deprivation close to Cadw sites Offer more community projects at monuments where there is a lack of community involvement or problematic behaviour Introduce and promote free "Open Days" for all, supported by special events at key monuments.