Transformation of historic Sheffield building into community cafe and activity centre to bring 'new life and modern facilities' to popular park
Age UK Sheffield have secured a further £581,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore a historic building into a community cafe and activity centre in one of the city's most popular parks.
The derelict Grade II-listed Old Coach House, in Hillsborough Park next to the library, is set for a big renovation along with the nearby Potting Shed.
The abandoned coach house was last used as a munitions store during the Second World War.
Plans to transform it have been around three years in the making and construction work is set to begin on site in autumn this year with the aim of opening the cafe next summer.
Steve Chu, chief executive of Age UK Sheffield, said: "It’s absolutely amazing and it’s always been a vision that we hope to bring to reality and thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund we can finally bring it to reality.
"It’s great for us as a charity, it’s the right project for the local community and it’s the last chance to save this building - there would have been no other way of bringing this building back into use and it's great for the park and heritage."
From this week experienced cafe operators in the city will be able to put proposals to the charity for the site and work with them to develop the design and concept.
With rules around social distancing brought in during the coronavirus pandemic, they are already looking at how they can use the space to keep visitors and staff safe with outdoor seating and parasols.
The Potting Shed next to the building will also be used for a range of activities including gardening, woodwork, metalwork, upcycling, photography and other crafts.
Age UK Sheffield will also be managing the bowling pavilion and looking to create more exercise opportunities such as aerobics and yoga which will be open to everyone and accessible to those with long term conditions.
Mr Chu said: "We want to make sure that the people we work with have access to appropriate activities that maintain their health and wellbeing and living in good health for as long as possible so it’s really important to us that those activities are accessible to people with dementia and long term conditions as well as people of all ages.
"One of the drivers for us as a charity is we don’t own anywhere in which to deliver these sorts of activities. So hopefully from next year we will do and we want to put on a really exciting range and will be consulting with local people about what they want us to provide for them."
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at council, added: "I am absolutely thrilled the National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting this fantastic development.
"These plans will bring new life and modern facilities in to what is already one of our most popular parks, serving many local communities. We are proud to be working with Age UK Sheffield to regenerate this historic building as a unique cafe venue for Sheffield.
"From the beginning, the vision was to transform the historic disused Coach House into a vital community hub, where local people and visitors can meet for drinks and refreshments while enjoying the park’s great recreational and heritage facilities. This will also enable people with dementia, their families, friends and carers, to be more active, more creative and more integrated. This funding means that vision is now becoming a reality."
The total estimated cost of the project is around £1 million - Age UK Sheffield are contributing £100,000, the National Lottery Heritage Fund previously contributed £49,700 and more than £20,000 was secured in partner funding.
But extra local fundraising is also needed and the charity encouraged anyone interested in supporting the project through volunteering or fundraising to email [email protected] or phone 0114 250 2850.