Could you help lead the Jumbo Project?

The charity working to save Colchester’s Jumbo water tower is recruiting a Project Director to lead the next phase of restoring the building and bringing it back into sustainable use. Jumbo Water Tower is the largest Victorian municipal water tower in England and a much-loved Colchester icon. Neglected for many years, the tower is now in urgent need of restoration so it can be saved for current and future generations.

North Essex Heritage has been given £250,0000 development funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to work on its plans to restore the unique Victorian water tower and transform it into a financially sustainable heritage and community space for Colchester.

Simon Hall MBE DL, Chair of North Essex Heritage, said:

Thanks to National Lottery players, we are putting together a team of experts to help progress our plans to apply for a full grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Jumbo has stood empty and deteriorating for almost 40 years and this is the last real chance to save this magnificent building. We intend to produce a first-class solution which will be an exemplar of a restoration project.

The Project Director will lead the client side of the work for North Essex Heritage. This will involve fundraising, design, planning and seeking construction tenders, through to delivery and implementation of the operation of a revitalised heritage asset.

The role will involve an average of 2.5 days per week, with peaks and troughs of activity. The appointment is for up to three years, with a probationary period of six months, a break point if The National Lottery Heritage Fund Stage 2 approval is not obtained, and flexibility for the Trust to extend the term.

Applications should be in writing by 11th September 2023 addressed to Simon Hall MBE DL, Chair, North Essex Heritage, Walcotts Hall, Coggeshall Road, Great Tey, Colchester, Essex CO6 1AH or by email to Interviews will be conducted in person and will take place the week of 18th September. Applicants should address why they feel suitable for this role and how their skills fit the objectives of the Trust. This is a wide-ranging role with support from a first-rate consultancy team and experienced trustees, so a lack of experience in one area should not be seen as an obstacle.

North Essex Heritage has leased the Grade II* listed Jumbo, officially known as the Balkerne Water Tower, for 150 years. It plans to restore and convert the building which is of national heritage importance. The aim is to produce a commercially viable operation which pays for the building’s upkeep. The building will be run as a destination venue, restaurant, visitor experience and historical interpretation space. The huge water tank will be a mixed-use space, with a bar on the floor below. Jumbo will be a fully accessible heritage attraction, so everyone can admire the remarkable engineering and stunning views or join in community activities.

These are exciting times for the Jumbo Project. North Essex Heritage has appointed three additional trustees. Former Director of North Essex Heritage David Balcombe is now on the Board of Trustees. Design, heritage and planning expert David is joined by Simon East, a corporate and governance administrator for multiple domestic and international companies, with a background in law and an interest in industrial archaeology, conservation and CAD. The third new trustee is Leila Kleineidam who started a career in dentistry, moved to an art college and developed promotional and outreach experience, before joining the civil service in the Cabinet Office. Leila later moved to the MoD where she now works in policy relating to AI ethics.

The Jumbo Project has already been supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, the Government’s Town Deal Fund and The Architectural Heritage Fund.