A community-based team of local Penzance civic societies, working with local authorities as partners, has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for The Gardeners’ House project, it was announced this week.
Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to create a community resource and learning centre focusing on Cornwall’s significant contribution internationally to natural history and the environment. Development funding of up to £70,100 has been awarded to help the Hypatia Trust (Registered charity 1060663) to progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. The Hypatia Trust itself, due to the legacy gift of an American donor, the late Dr Elspeth Pope of Shelton, Washington, will also be donating a substantial sum toward the total required.
Together with the dedicated Friends of Morrab Gardens and the Pengarth Day Centre for older people, plans include an eco-friendly rebuild of the partially derelict stables, lying beside the famed Morrab Library. Working with the Head Gardener, Joe Palmese and his team, many new opportunities for social enterprise, research, school visits, garden-craft workshops, mentoring and training for all ages will be on offer.
Primary objectives are to create a readily accessible natural history reading room with unique horticultural and botanical archives gathered by the Hypatia Trust, an educational charity based in Penzance. It will create an archive on Morrab Gardens’ history, its contribution to society, and the people, past and present, who engaged with it.
The project aims to carry out essential conservation work, digitise collections, join them through a single web portal, allowing on-line public access to significant local collections for the first time. An educational programme of related activities incorporating experimental gardens and an open-air laboratory for citizen science, is also planned.
Melissa Hardie, project leader and Hypatia Trust director, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that with the help of De Facto Development Consultants of Falmouth, our application has received the welcome support of the National Lottery. Many helpers – near, far and wide - already have contributed ideas and initial support toward the proposed transformation of this historically important ‘lost asset’. We look forward to the new life and use it will bring to these much-loved public gardens.”
Penzance Mayor Dick Cliffe commented further, “This project is a great step forward for the Hypatia Trust here in Penzance, it is a very welcome investment in a moribund part of Morrab Gardens and it is a successful first step in what should become a sustainable Morrab Gardens regeneration project.”
Councillor Olivier, Cornwall Councillor for Penzance Central, said: “This is great news and I am confident that this new community resource and learning centre will be of great benefit to the local community and visitors to the area.”
Councillor James, Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “I am extremely pleased that the funding has been granted for this project and look forward to seeing this important local asset being brought back into the heart of the community.”
About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported
*Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. The Gardener’s House project has initially been granted round one development funding of £70,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £722,000