A new group working to share the stories of Saltaire and make more of the village’s World Heritage Site status is looking to raise almost £2 million to bring its plans to fruition.

The Saltaire World Heritage Education Association (SWHEA) wants to establish a Saltaire Interpretation Centre in Victoria Hall’s Fluke Room, improve facilities for schools and groups at the United Reformed Church and create a researchers’ room at Shipley College.

It also plans to catalogue and display the thousands of items in the Saltaire Archive, which are currently being sorted through, to display in rotation at Victoria Hall and create a digital record of the archive.

Steering group member Molly Kenyon said the group wanted to create something which would benefit the village for many years.

She said: “Saltaire has been a World Heritage Site since 2001 and we’ve not got a heritage centre open - it’s one of only two in Yorkshire and not many in the UK,” she said, adding that World Heritage Sites recently featured on television show Pointless and few people knew of its status.

“Saltaire is my long-term commitment and all of us in the groups are concerned about getting this right.”

The first stage of fundraising is ongoing with the group needing to raise £30,000 as matching funds for a Heritage Lottery grant application in May. She added: “We’ve had a good response so far.”

In all, around £1.8 million is needed to develop SWHEA’s vision and activity programme, which has the working title, Saltaire Stories: Past, Present and Future The group, which is being set up as a charitable incorporated organisation, also hopes to encourage research into the impacts of industrial change and globalisation on the local textile industry and the lives of village residents.

Three organisations are working to create the group – the Salt Foundation, which holds Victoria Hall in a charitable trust; Shipley College, which holds the Saltaire Archive and manages Victoria Hall and Saltaire United Reformed Church, which provides space for visiting groups.

Members are also working with groups involved in Saltaire Learning which creates and promotes learning resources about Saltaire.

To get involved, contact Molly Kenyon on (01274) 593585, or World Heritage Site Officer Helen Thornton on (01274) 435319.