Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust has been successful in its funding bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, to support the development of plans to repair, restore and repurpose the dilapidated stables, lodge and ancillary buildings.
The project aims to redevelop the buildings to enable the development of a wellbeing hub, that through curated partners and new activity and programmes will support the improved wellbeing of the local community. Furthermore the project will enable greater sustainability for the Trust, through new income streams, and increased footfall.
Made possible by National Lottery players, the development funding of £477,000 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust progress their plans, and to further engage members of the community and partners, as plans are refined ahead of applying for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.
The project aims to carry out essential restoration work on a number of buildings that are at risk, which sit within the grounds of the historic 12th century Abbey. Once complete, the project aims to improve the mental and physical health of local residents through green social prescribing, building on programmes to date such as Delapré Wellbeing and complementing the existing visitor attraction. The project will also aim to create 42 jobs and support a thriving visitor economy.
The development of the site will allow investment through a social return in creative, physical and mindful wellbeing programmes, working with numerous partners and cementing Delapré Abbey as a key community asset in improving wellbeing.
Early work to develop the feasibility plans and options appraisals for the project has been funded by Architectural Heritage Fund through their Project Development Grant Cultural Recovery Programme.
Commenting on the award, Richard Clinton, Chief Executive of Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, said:
“We would like to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the support that will enable us to develop the project further. The Abbey originally existed to support the wellbeing of the Northamptonshire community over 900 years ago. This step will help to ensure that the Abbey can build on our wellbeing programme to date, and for many years to come. Without the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Architectural Heritage Fund for the early project support, developing such projects would be beyond difficult to conceive.”
Cllr Adam Brown, Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure, said: “While it’s a fantastic heritage asset for our area, Delapré Abbey contributes to the local community in a host of other ways.
“Through its wellbeing programmes, and an underlying ethos of community involvement and engagement, it’s an indispensable part of West Northamptonshire and something that we’re proud to support.
“We’re also extremely grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for continuing to support this project, after being such a huge part of bringing the site back into use several years ago.”
Despite the challenges and restrictions caused by the pandemic, Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust has worked hard to support the local community, offering 7500 local families a free Annual Pass enabling them to explore the history on their doorstep and removing economic barriers to engagement. A new business plan sees the Trust focus on heritage and culture, wellbeing and the environment, and animating unloved spaces, with the aim to broaden reach, put communities first, and inspire and excite through ambitious programmes and activity.
Steve Edmonds, Chair of Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, said: “It is hard to believe that when we opened Delapré Abbey to the public for the first time four and a half years ago there was great uncertainty around whether the project would be a success.
“The years since then have been challenging to say the least but it is clear for all to see that it has been embraced by the whole community and progress has been outstanding. Without the foresight and commitment of National Lottery Heritage Fund back in 2016, the Abbey would not exist as you see it today and once again, we are very grateful for the support received by all partners to facilitate the next stage of the exciting wider Delapré Abbey Project.”