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Project information

National Marine Centre

Our vision is to inform, engage and excite Scotland’s population and visitors about our amazing marine heritage and the need to look after it. The Centre will be a hub for education, conservation and research, building environmental citizenship that will conserve our marine heritage for the future.

September 2018 - September 2020

Charity information: Scottish Seabird Centre

Scottish Seabird Centre logo
  • Need


    Scotland’s beautiful, diverse marine ecosystems are at serious risk. Multiple threats include pollution, resource exploitation and climate change. Furthermore, despite its value, our marine heritage remains hidden and inaccessible. Lack of widespread understanding is possibly the greatest risk of all.

    There is a strong local need for this project: demand for marine-related education is rising. It far exceeds our current resources, leading to waiting lists and schools being turned away.


    The National Marine Centre offers a fantastic opportunity to enable people to discover Scotland’s amazing marine world and explore life above and below waves.

    This innovative, exciting project will play a critical role in informing and inspiring people of all ages to take collective responsibility for our valuable marine heritage. It will widen our charitable impact, reaching new, broader audiences and beneficiaries, via events, activities, partnerships, outreach and digital engagement.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    More people will have learned about marine heritage and will have a greater understanding


    » Our popular education programmes will be developed and delivered at the Centre, including schools programme, after-school and holiday clubs
    » An online resource will be available to schools across Scotland including: education packs, lesson plans, scientist interviews, virtual field trips.
    » Other learning opportunities will include: interpretative media to support exhibitions, local meetings and events e.g. talks and informal discussions
    » We will produce a range of written, audio and visual media to minimise access barriers for those challenged by disability or literacy.

    What success will look like

    Monitor qualitative/quantitative outcomes e.g. schools engaged, visitor feedback, digital downloads, website activity etc.

    Aim 2

    We will reach wider range of audiences enabling more people to engage with marine heritage


    » Local events, touring exhibition, outreach at science festivals and a highly accessible website will enable us to take our heritage ‘on the road’.
    » Partnering with marine research, conservation and education organisations e.g. Universities will enable us to share fascinating insights country-wide
    » ‘Marine on the Move’ outreach programme will bring learning to communities and classrooms around Scotland including free interactive 'discovery boxes
    » We will support a national network of marine wildlife clubs, so young people can learn about the marine heritage from an early age.

    What success will look like

    Monitoring as above and via partnerships e.g. new areas reached (e.g. those in areas of deprivation / least able to access opportunities), broad geographic spread etc.

    Aim 3

    People will have changed their attitudes and behaviour towards marine heritage, taking action


    » We will work with our partners to share consistent messages throughout communications and activities e.g. website, booklet, leaflet, exhibitions.
    » We will share information regarding the small steps individuals can take and opportunities to do so e.g. citizen science, beach cleans, bioblitz.

    What success will look like

    To measure the impact of this work we will monitor and evaluate personal action through the #guardians of the sea initiative.

    Aim 4

    People will volunteer and learn new skills contributing to the conservation of our marine heritage.


    » We will create a hub for volunteering opportunities including marine conservation and research, education, outreach and events.
    » Citizen science opportunities will include recording the presence of non-native species, climate change indicators and reporting strandings.
    » The project will provide new opportunities for intern and work experience placements.

    What success will look like

    Monitoring numbers of active volunteers at the Centre, new ages/abilities reached, new roles / skills opportunities etc.

  • Impact


    NMC will build on our track-record of success making audiences aware of the significance and importance of marine heritage. It will inform and inspire wide-ranging audiences to become knowledgeable and passionate custodians of Scotland’s amazing marine heritage. A detailed monitoring and evaluation framework will summarise the key outcomes/outputs, including those above. Working with stakeholders and Scotland-wide partners, we will be able to evaluate our impact on widespread marine knowledge.


    A project risk register is maintained and reviewed weekly. Risks are assessed using specific criteria (likelihood/impact) and have assigned responsibility and mitigating actions. The project activities detailed will only be achievable via the improved capacity and facilities made possible through capital works. The majority of risks relate to these works e.g. unable to raise funding (mitigated through robust fundraising strategy); unplanned budget costs (mitigated through tight cost control).


    We have a robust marketing, communications and reporting strategy. This includes specific funder reports at key milestones; annual review; website; social media; members magazine (sent twice annually). Other opportunities include press releases (local/national), films and funder/public events.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £559,719

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      Amount Heading Description
      £302,450 Staffing and travel Including Marine Partnership Officer (4 years) and Marine Officer (3.5 years)
      £34,892 Staff and volunteer training Including marine environment, education, public facing, skills gaps.
      £100,300 National reach Activities reaching Scotland-wide audiences.
      £23,764 Events E.g. local discussions, 'meet the scientist', informal talks.
      £36,036 Centre based activity Delivered at the NMC
      £22,381 Volunteer programme Costs related to Marine volunteer programme
      £12,480 Evaluation To evaluate and share learning
      £27,416 Contingency 5%

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Scottish Seabird Centre contribution £205,703 Guaranteed
    Dulverton Trust £60,000 Guaranteed
    Heritage Lottery Fund £307,845 Conditional
  • Background


    Our privileged location on North Berwick’s historic harbour gives us unparalleled access to the surrounding Firth of Forth islands with their wealth of marine heritage. Bass Rock was recently identified as the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets. It was also voted BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Nature Reserve of the Year for two years running. The neighbouring islands of Craigleith, Fidra and the Lamb are used throughout the year by a fascinating variety of marine life.


    We welcome 270,000 visitors each year, from local schools and families, to visitors from throughout Scotland and further afield. NMC is projected to increase this figure. NMC targets/beneficiaries include: 66,500 young people through education / outreach; 12,000 days of volunteer marine conservation activity; 2,000 people will learn about marine science, research and heritage at ‘Marine Matters’ events; 80% visitors to exhibitions will have learned about the marine environment.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    With our unique location, 17 year track record of award-winning success in science engagement and education and strong network of partnerships, the Scottish Seabird Centre is ideally placed to meet the wide-spread need for public engagement and understanding. Our aim is to become Scotland’s leading Marine Science Visitor Attraction, creating a hub for marine-related education, conservation and cutting-edge research.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Tom Brock, OBE. CEO.

    Senior Responsible Owner for project. Experience in zoology, tourism, sustainability and leading major regeneration schemes. CEO for 17 years.

    Professor John Baxter, Marine Advisory Group

    Marine Advisory Group member: Key purpose to provide advice / expertise on marine related content and activities.

    Andrew Grieveson, Education Officer

    Trained science teacher and currently responsible for developing/delivering education programmes at SSC.