Nothe Fort

Steps to Sustainability was proud to support Nothe Fort in their Unique Retail project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Unique Retail Offer

In a quest to redefine its retail experience, Nothe Fort embarked on an inspiring venture, partnering with local creative company Caravane Design, to craft a unique range reflecting the Fort’s rich history through the creation of four distinct Nothe Fort mice, each representing a pivotal time period in its evolution.

The programme’s outputs included a suite of six themed mice, along with branded merchandise such as posters, postcards, and fridge magnets. Tangible outcomes encompassed financial benefits, heightened family visits, and an overall shift towards meeting the needs of both visitors and the local community.

Over 800 mouse books were sold in the first 4 weeks of the summer holidays. In addition, cut-out images of the mice were set around the site as photo opportunities to reinforce the brand and have something fun for families to do too.

Programme Impact

We interviewed Mary-Anne Edwards, General Manager at Nothe Fort, about her experience with the Steps to Sustainability programme.

Mary-Anne shared her initial scepticism about the programme, expecting conventional training. However, the Steps to Sustainability programme turned out to be an “unexpected pleasure.” The workshops, marked by responsiveness, transparency, and experienced facilitation, engaged Nothe Fort in a journey of learning and development, surpassing their expectations.

Guided by the influence of Steps to Sustainability training, Nothe Fort strategically aligned its retail offering with the visitor experience. The shop doubled takings, and the project has set a sound foundation for income generation in the future.

Mary-Anne reflected that she felt that the staff delivering the workshops and events, and the entire team, were responsive, transparent, tolerant, and very experienced, and this combination made a huge difference to the potential for the outputs and outcomes from the project, and also how engaged she felt with the whole process.

The team’s stand-out moments from the programme were:

1. Flexible Journey with Tangible Outcomes

While the core idea remained unchanged, the programme’s flexible structure allowed Nothe Fort to maximise the original concept. The output surpassed expectations, with a diverse range of merchandise developed, creating impacts far beyond the initial scope.

2. Network Support and Safe Spaces

The programme’s network provided crucial support, offering a safe space for ideation and collaboration. Despite the geographical proximity of participating organisations like Lyme Regis Museum and Jurassic Coast Trust, Mary-Ann expressed the value of shared learning opportunities.

3. Impact on Financial Stability

Nothe Fort’s shop saw a significant boost in revenue, doubling its takings. This financial success not only secured immediate benefits but also laid a solid foundation for future endeavours. The increased income allowed for improved services and a deeper understanding that creative thinking could enhance financial sustainability.

4. Legacy Aspirations

Mary-Ann advocated for a comprehensive sharing of programme learnings, not only in terms of overall structure but also in detailing individual projects. She emphasised the importance of showcasing case studies through conferences, geographic meet-ups, and press releases to inspire and inform others.

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