At last we can go public with the wonderful news that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have earmarked over £260,000 for the Old Church Project. Initial development funding of £22,800 has been granted to enable CBPT to put together all the information HLF require before the full grant for restoration is released in 2016.
Heritage Lottery requires very detailed planning before it will fund a project to guarantee that the money it grants does not go to waste. There is lots to do and over the next 12 months we will be very busy commissioning an architect, drawing up a conservation plan, developing a sustainable business model, not to mention the essential bat survey. We will also be regularly consulting with our local community and key stakeholders to ensure we have everyone’s support. Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy.
It’s been a long road since we were voted regional winner in the BBC’s ‘Restoration Village’ back in 2006 (the project was awarded funding for an audience development report and energy use report as a consequence). Since then there has been much work behind the scenes to negotiate a lease from the Church of Ireland which was finally secured in late 2013.
Once the Old Church is restored it will provide a focal point for visitors to learn about the village and will be wonderful venue for exhibitions, workshops, performances, heritage displays as well as much needed community space. Plans for the building include careful modifications to provide a kitchenette and disabled toilet creating a comfortable and versatile venue for the community and visitors alike. CBPT has already established a reputation for organising events such as the Vintage Book Fair for European Heritage Open Days and the Cushendun Big Arts Weekend which showcase some of the potential uses for the building.
Betty Allen, former parishioner of the old church and founding member of Cushendun Building Preservation Trust said, “I am delighted! I was a long standing member of the congregation and am a founder member of the Building Preservation Trust. When the Church was deconsecrated there was a real risk off it becoming derelict, now it will be properly looked after and a great asset to the village.”
CBPT are collecting information and recollections about the Old Church and would love to hear from anyone who used to be a member of the congregation or has other associations with the building. For further information about the project and to contact CBPT visit www.cushendunbpt.org
We are also planning the Cushendun Big Arts Weekend 2015. If you have any suggestions, or would like to get involved do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or come along to our planning Open Meeting in Glenmona on Monday 29th at 7:30 pm.
Finally we would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years, we could not have got this far without you.
Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2015