Yorkshire Bank, the UK's best-performing business bank, is helping a group of Whitby-based Captain Cook enthusiasts realise their dream of building a heritage centre on the site where Cook's ships are believed to have been built.
The £1.7 million project, which has been funded by Yorkshire Bank's Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) in York, will enable Captain Cook Enterprises to build 12 cottages on former railway land in the Whitby harbour area. When complete, the sale of the cottages will contribute to the financing of the building of 'Cook's World' - a hi-tech virtual reality visitor centre which will bring alive the world that James Cook and his crew lived in and also convey the great maritime and shipbuilding tradition of Whitby.
"Supporting local enterprises is something Yorkshire Bank is fully committed to," said Andrew Kerley, Business Partner at the York FSC.
"The completion of Cook's World should bring approximately 40 jobs to the local area. In addition to this, Captain Cook Enterprises will be running a government-backed apprenticeship scheme which will teach young people traditional techniques for the building and maintenance of wooden ships and other historic craft - keeping alive traditional skills that are still very relevant to the modern world."
The centre is projected to attract about 160,000 tourists a year from all over the world to Whitby and raise awareness of the area's history.
John Halton, Chief Executive of Captain Cook Enterprises added:
"We are thrilled at the level of local support this project has received, and interest in the project has been so great that eight of the 12 cottages have already been sold."
"We approached several banks with our ideas for funding the heritage centre with this scheme. Some of them refused us point-blank, while others made all the right noises but it just ended up going nowhere. Yorkshire Bank has been absolutely brilliant throughout - backing us solidly right down the line."