Age UK Sheffield plans to restore historic park building
A historic building which has laid derelict for years could be transformed into a new cafe and community centre for elderly people.
Age UK Sheffield is hoping to revitalise the grade two listed coach house at the back of the library in Hillsborough Park.
Local residents have been lobbying for a cafe in the park for many years and Age UK Sheffield says this could be an ideal opportunity to bring a building back to life and provide facilities for both youngsters and older people.
The charity, which does not get any funding from its national HQ, has received grants totalling Â£14,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund for a feasibility story.
It estimates it will cost Â£500,000 to renovate the building and if the plans are feasible, it will apply for more grants to carry out the work.
Steve Chu, chief executive of Age UK Sheffield, said: “We work with 4,000 people in Sheffield but don’t have anywhere to deliver our services, apart from a dementia centre in Norfolk Park which we rent.
“Quite a lot of the other Age UKs nationwide have their own buildings so we have been looking for somewhere to take ownership of and have been in talks with the council for the past few months.
“We know there is demand in the local community to bring this building back into use and people have wanted a cafe in the park and access to public toilets for a long time.
“In the main building we plan to have a large activity room for singing and dancing for people with dementia. On the ground floor there would be a community area with a cafe open to all members of the public and an area where we can give advice and information.
“A neighbouring annex would be used as classrooms for activities such as playing cards and board games, language and computer classes for older people. There would also be toilets for public use.”
If the plans go ahead, the cafe would generate income for the day to day running costs of the building. Sheffield Council holds it in trust for the city and is looking at allowing Age UK Sheffield to have a 99 or 125 year lease.
Consultants will be on site over the next couple of months and will look at its condition, estimated renovation costs and any issues around it being a listed building. This feasibility study should be completed by the end of June.
Age UK Sheffield is working alongside the Friends of Hillsborough Park and welcomes comments from the public. Email [email protected]
Hillsborough House was built in 1779 as a home for Thomas Steade
The old coach house was originally the stable block to Hillsborough Hall
Sheffield Council bought the buildings at auction in 1890
The old coach house was used for storage by the council for many years but is now completely in disrepair.
In 2012 the council put the old coach house up for sale but the cost of renovation made it too expensive for developers