Historic Bacup building receives funding boost

Published October 1, 2021 at 10:19

AN HISTORIC community building is the first to receive a grant from the Bacup High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).

In 2020 Rossendale Council was successful in securing £1.08 million from Historic England for a four-year project to repurpose old buildings and underused floor space.

The ABD Centre in Burnley Road was built as a Liberal Club in 1892 and the building and furniture cost £5,000 – £2,000 of which was provided by John Henry Maden – one of the town’s benefactors and a former JP, a Liberal Councillor, County Councillor, Mayor of Bacup and MP for Rossendale.

Bacup Council bought the building in the 1960s and when its future was uncertain in 2003, a group of trustees took over the management.

In January this year, the trustees appointed Peter Dunn as centre development manager and since then he has overseen improvements to the inside of the premises.

Now the £92,000 HAZ grant will see the exterior upgraded, with replacement sash windows and a new, safe more welcoming main entrance off Harcourt Street, next to the Post Office.

Peter said: “There was a call for a manager to help and support the trustees, but I didn’t just want to manage the building, I wanted to help to effectively revitalise the premises, raise awareness and increase usage.

“A grant from Lancashire Environmental Fund helped us to replace the heating system and we secured National Lottery funding over three years to start the process of raising awareness and increasing usage. It also funded my post and that of centre caretaker Steve Shuttler.”

Over the last six months, the centre has been upgraded and the original lift has been brought back into use, retaining its heritage, but updating the control panels and safety mechanism at a cost £32,000.

Bacup Family Centre is now a new tenant and operates from the top floor office and has a lounge for counselling, a kitchen for cookery training and a large open plan loft space as an activity room.

Peter said: “We have Burnley Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service, who have been tenants for three years, Slimming World, Bacup Karate Club, Pilates, an educational one-to-one support service and AA meetings.

Portfolio holder for Health, Leisure and Bacup Regeneration Councillor Barbara Ashworth said: “To me, this is the centre of Bacup and it should be the hub. I am really pleased to see the work that has been carried out and it is going to open up all sorts of opportunities for different groups of all ages to use the facilities.

“The planned change to the entrance is crucial and I am delighted that Peter welcomes people to call in and have a look around if they are going past.

“I see a bright future for the centre and we are very lucky to have this building in Bacup.”

To find out more about the centre call Peter on 01706 874111.

“Historic England’s Kate Kendall said: We are delighted to see the rejuvenation of Bacup’s historic high street moving forward with this grant to protect and enhance the appeal of the ABD Centre, which is so well-used by the local community.”

Caption: Centre Development Manager Peter Dunn with Rossendale Councillor Barbara Ashworth outside the ABD Centre on Burnley Road. Photo and content credit Catherine Smyth Media.

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