National Lottery grant to restore Abney Park one step closer
The borough’s most magical park is one step closer to securing around £5million for a major restoration project.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund have announced that Hackney Council and its partners the Abney Park Trust and the Abney Park User Group have been successful in the first round of bidding for money to improve Abney Park Cemetery.
The Council’s plans will ensure this well-loved and wild space is conserved in a sustainable way so visitors can enjoy the park for years to come.
Situated in Stamford Hill, Abney Park is one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries, and contains the oldest surviving non-denominational chapel in Europe. The Chapel has recently been reopened for public access after extensive structural repairs to its roof and stonework last year.
Before applying for funding, the Council asked park users for their thoughts on what improvements they would like to see and developed its plans. The proposals include further restoration work to the Chapel, making entrance gates more accessible, creating space for on-site masonry and a woodworking studio, as well as restoring the park’s lodges to create a space for educational projects, a cafe and a forest school.
If successful with a second round application, further restorative work to the Chapel will allow the building to be used for community events such as music concerts and theatre productions. The turret stairs, windows, floors and upstairs seating will be reinstated. These works would see the Chapel removed from the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register.
One of the key elements of the proposal aims to incorporate park maintenance into the visitor experience and allow for even more volunteering opportunities. It is hoped there will be onsite craft studios for stone masons and woodcarvers, who will provide educational workshops, and most important of all assist with the restoration and repair of the park on an ongoing basis.
The two funds, which distribute money raised through the National Lottery require the Council to submit a second-round application to secure the funding the full grant of almost £5million. Just over £314,000 has been awarded up front to help develop the round two bid.
We are delighted to receive this initial support from the National Lottery. This project will ensure the park is well maintained with local, sustainable materials, reversing its decline and ensuring future generations can enjoy a magical walk through Hackney's past.
The Council has now got until June 2019 to develop the next bid.