Valley Heritage secures National Lottery Heritage Fund support

By News
Architect's impression of the exterior of the building.

Valley Heritage, Rossendale’s Heritage Development Trust, has been awarded £200,400 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Alliance @ the Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank, Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will help to transform Bacup’s currently unused Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank into a co-working space and apartments, and deliver an exciting programme of community activities, events and training. Work is due to start in August 2021 and the completed project, to be called Alliance, is expected to re-open in early 2022.

The project will comprehensively refurbish and convert the building, creating a vibrant co-working space on the ground floor, two rental apartments and two apartments for use by Rossendale’s M3 Project. A community activity programme running alongside the works will include arts activities, heritage skills training, research into the history of the building, opportunities for work experience and the creation of a photographic record of the project.

When opened, Alliance will be an active space at the heart of the town centre, offering co-working users opportunities to access support, training and mentoring. Desks will be available for both regular and occasional users, bringing together self-employed, independent and flexi and hybrid workers seeking an alternative to the office closer to home. Four quality apartments will help to bring more residents to Bacup’s town centre, supporting local shops, pubs and restaurants.

During the project there will be opportunities for volunteers, families, young people, schools and local building contractors to get involved. There will be chances to gain skills, try new things, share memories of the building, celebrate the project and even contribute to the decoration of the final building.

With its iconic turret and carved animals, the Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank is a landmark in Bacup town centre. Opened in 1878, it later became part of Martins Bank and then Barclays, and remained in use as a bank until 1970. A Grade II listed building of national importance, it was vacant when purchased by Valley Heritage in November 2019, and it had suffered from decay and water damage. Its return to life marks an important stage in the continuing regeneration of Bacup’s town centre and demonstrates how repurposing of this type is essential for the future of our town centres.

The purchase of the building was made possible by a loan provided by the Architectural Heritage Fund, through the Heritage Impact Fund. Its conversion, and the upcoming programme of community activities, has been made possible by support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund’s Transformational Project Grants, the Dulverton Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Beatrice Laing Trust, the Fort Foundation, the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, the Ian Askew Charitable Trust, Historic England and the Bacup High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Commenting on the award, Stephen Anderson, Chairperson at Valley Heritage, said: ‘We’ve been working incredibly hard to get to this point since early in 2019, making this a huge moment in the project. The building is iconic and we are delighted that we can bring it back to life and mark another milestone in the regeneration of Bacup. We are grateful to National Lottery players for their support and also offer our thanks to our volunteers, partners and funders; we couldn’t make this happen without them.’

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