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Meet Melanie

MelanieI am delighted to take up the post of Project Development Officer for Cushendun Building Preservation Trust.  My background is one of project management & community development with specific experience in community arts and heritage projects.

This is a very exciting time in the redevelopment of the Old Church, and there is much to do over the course of the coming months in order to submit a second round funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This will involve a number of pieces of work including a business plan and a programme of activities to link people with heritage and the arts.

This is your village and your local community – the place where you live, go to school and work.  I will be working alongside the CBPT and we need to engage with you closely over the coming weeks and months in order to drive this project forward. 

This will include;

– Working with local residents, groups and schools to ensure that the Old Church is a space where they feel welcome and can utilise.

– Engaging young people to develop a youth sub-committee for the Old Church – harnessing their creativity & talents.

– Ensuring the Old Church is a hub which engages with visitors to Cushendun & develops the tourism potential of the village.

– Planning with local businesses to ensure that anything we develop is working with them and of a benefit to the village as a whole.

I hope to speak with as many of you as possible over the next few months.  I will be here for the Big Arts Weekend, where amongst other things I will be running reminiscence workshops on people’s memories of the Old Church.  This will be totally informal and any memories, good or bad, inside of the Church Building or not would be really appreciated.

I look forward to meeting with you!

Melanie Rintoul

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Exciting news! Cushendun Old Church has been awarded HLF funding.

english_compact_pantoneAt 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 ecoKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAnomy.

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 Old Church Logo pngCBPT 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 info@cushendunbpt.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

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Planning begins for 2015 Big Arts Weekend

BAW 2015 public meeting LQPlanning the Cushendun Big Arts Weekend takes a lot of hard work and dedication from the event organisers.  Cushendun Building Preservation Trust invites everyone to an open meeting in Glenmona House, 7:30 pm on 29 December 2014, to come onboard with us and help us prepare and deliver an even bigger Arts Weekend next May Day Weekend.

Please feel welcome to come along and offer any comments or suggestions you may have and we would be delighted if anyone can offer even a few hours over the Arts Weekend to help out in any way possible.

News and Updates

A fine day out, excellent reading and a literary lucky dip …

IMG_0742That’s what was on offer at this year’s Vintage and Secondhand Book Sale in Cushendun Old Church on the European Heritage Open Days Weekend of 13 and 14 September.

Now in its third year, the Cushendun Vintage and Secondhand Book Sale has become a popular stop for Heritage Weekenders ‘doing’ North Antrim and the Causeway Coast, as well as for locals in the know.   Between 300 – 400 visitors came over the two days attracted by the great range of bargain hardbacks and paperbacks – everything from fiction, crime and biography to travel, cookery and children’s reading – as well as our traditionally rather good tea and buns supplied by local home bakers.

For anyone unable to decide which book was for them, this year we launched our inaugural ‘Literary Lucky Dip’.  A number of books were neatly wrapped in brown paper and hidden inside one of them was a £20 Amazon Gift Certificate.  This proved to be a huge success and something we will do again at our next Vintage Book Sale.

IMG_0743Of course the Book Sale also offers an opportunity to visit the Old Church, a lovely 1840’s country church in the picturesque National Trust Village of  Cushendun which is open as part of the European Heritage Open House Weekend (EHOD).  This year we are pleased to announce that we raised close to £900 over the course of the weekend and this money will be put to good use for the general upkeep of the Old Church until such times as were are in a position to complete the restoration.  We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who brought books, bought books, baked or helped out in any number of other ways.

IMG_0750As well as organising the Big Arts Weekend in May, and the Book Sale in September we have been busy putting together our Stage One application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and an application to Ulster Garden Villages. This is a very exciting, although nail-biting, time for the Cushendun Building Preservation Trust and we will update everyone as soon as we know the outcome.

We are starting to plan ahead for the next Big Arts Weekend 1-4  May 2015. If you have any suggestions, would like to be involved or help out at any of the event drop us an e-mail (info@cushendunbpt.org).

Once again  THANK YOU for your continued support!