Com­mu­nity spirit help­ing with cas­tle’s restora­tion

DROP-IN EVENT FOR PEO­PLE WANT­ING TO BE IN­VOLVED IN TRANS­FOR­MA­TION

Sunderland Echo - - News - By Sue Kirby [email protected]­me­dia.co.uk Twit­ter: @SueKir­byJP

Sun­der­land’s Hyl­ton Cas­tle pre­pares to open its doors later this year and there is still time to get in­volved with the ren­o­va­tion.

Res­i­dents in Sun­der­land have worked hard be­hind the scenes, with more than 120 peo­ple vol­un­teer­ing their time, skills and ex­per­tise at the cas­tle last year in a range of roles and va­ri­ety of events and ac­tiv­i­ties.

They played a vi­tal role in ev­ery­thing from rais­ing aware­ness of the cas­tle’s his­tory and lead­ing work­shops with school chil­dren, to car­ry­ing out en­vi­ron­men­tal work in Hyl­ton Dene and help­ing to host the huge “Bat­tle for Sun­der­land” English Civil War re-en­act­ment event in the cas­tle grounds last sum­mer.

A drop-in event will be held next week for any­one who would still like to get in­volved with the trans­for­ma­tion to find out how they can help.

Schools, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties are among those who have been in­volved in a range of ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing projects con­nected to the cas­tle, with ap­pren­tice­ships and work place­ments.

These have in­cluded con­struc­tion stu­dents work­ing with the build­ing team on­site and hun­dreds of school chil­dren learn­ing about the cas­tle.

Work to trans­form Hyl­ton Cas­tle into a her­itage and com­mu­nity venue for all to en­joy be­gan in 2016 with con­struc­tion work com­menc­ing in Au­tumn 2017.

This was the re­sult of a quar­ter of a cen­tury of cam­paign­ing by res­i­dents to make the iconic struc­ture ac­tive once more and at the heart of com­mu­nity life.

The £4.2mil­lion project is a part­ner­ship be­tween Cas­tle in the Com­mu­nity and Sun­der­land City Coun­cil, funded by the coun­cil and the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund.

When the work is com­plete and the cas­tle opens its doors it will in­clude a café and learn­ing cen­tre, event and ex­hi­bi­tion spa­ces, with com­mu­nity-based train­ing, learn­ing and vol­un­teer­ing at the heart of the project.

Sun­der­land City Coun­cil Cab­i­net Mem­ber for Com­mu­ni­ties and Cul­ture, Coun­cil­lor John Kelly, said: “It’s fan­tas­tic to see the progress be­ing made at Hyl­ton Cas­tle both in terms of the con­struc­tion work on site, but also the num­bers of lo­cal vol­un­teers and schools who have al­ready been in­volved. This will con­tinue to grow as the Hyl­ton Cas­tle Project moves for­ward.

“This project isn’t just about cel­e­brat­ing the his­tory of the cas­tle and grounds, it’s about cel­e­brat­ing the dif­fer­ent roles it has played as an iconic build­ing in the heart of the com­mu­nity and in the lives of the gen­er­a­tions of lo­cal peo­ple con­nected with it.

“As we look for­ward to the fu­ture of the cas­tle as a com­mu­nity-based, her­itage-led venue for the re­gion, we also look for­ward to the train­ing, learn­ing, cul­tural and leisure op­por­tu­ni­ties that will be pro­vided for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Su­san Ord, chair­man of Cas­tle in Com­mu­nity, said: “The suc­cess of the Hyl­ton Cas­tle Project is founded on the con­tri­bu­tions and sup­port of lo­cal peo­ple over past decades to se­cure the project, to­day as the work on site con­tin­ues, and in fu­ture as the build­ing opens its doors.

“We’ve tried to or­gan­ise as wide a range of events and ac­tiv­i­ties as pos­si­ble, to give ev­ery­one the op­por­tu­nity to get in­volved – as vol­un­teers, par­tic­i­pants or spec­ta­tors – and we have more planned over the next few months as we pre­pare for the cas­tle and grounds to re-open to the pub­lic.”

For those who would like to dis­cover more about the his­tory of Hyl­ton Cas­tle, see pho­tos of the restora­tion work on-site, and find out how to be­come in­volved and be a part of the project, a drop-in event is be­ing held at the Bunny Hill Cen­tre in Hyl­ton Lane on Wed­nes­day, from 5pm to 7pm.

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able by vis­it­ing www. hyl­ton­cas­tle.org.uk, call­ing 0191 561 8611 or email­ing elanor.john­[email protected]­der­land.gov.uk.

School group walk­ing back through Hyl­ton Dene to­wards the cas­tle and, in­set, the re­cent English Civil War So­ci­ety Bat­tle Re-En­act­ment.

Just some of the peo­ple in­volved in the restora­tion of Hyl­ton Cas­tle.

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