Sheffield community group hopes to renovate old chapel house for ‘education and social reform’ projects

A group that aims to continue the work of pioneering Sheffield anti-slavery campaigner Mary Anne Rawson is seeking the guidance of the public in making plans to renovate and re-purpose an historic Wincobank landmark.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 3:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 2:30 pm

Upper Wincobank Chapel, on Wincobank Avenue, is owned by the Charity of Mary Anne Rawson, and the group would like to see it used in ways to educate and help the community.

The charity works with groups that tackle modern slavery, as well as campaigning for better education and anti-racism in the wake of the black lives matter protests in Sheffield.

They are open to suggestions for uses for the chapel, and have launched a survey to see how it could be best used and made an asset for the area.

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Wincobank Chapel House

Penny Rea, trustee for the charity, said: “Mary Anne Rawson dedicated her life to fighting for the liberty of the enslaved, the education of the poor and for social reform.

“She was an independent woman ahead of her time and today her values are still honoured at Upper Wincobank Chapel which she and her sister Emily Read founded as a school in 1841.

“We at Wincobank Chapel, as we continue to honour her memory, are committed to conversation and working with people from different backgrounds.”

Since 1905 community groups and services have been operated by the chapel. As recently as last year a new toddler group was set up, and families often use the building to meet during school holidays.

Wincobank Chapel before it was extended in 1905.

Now, the house next to the chapel, originally used by the teacher when it was a school, has been vacated and the charity are hoping to renovate it and open it up for people to use, too.

Ms Rea added: “We need your thoughts on the future of the house – whether it should be saved, who might want to use it and what is needed in the area. We are planning some grant funding applications, but we need your support and ideas.”

You can submit your thoughts by filling out an online survey.

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