A project to restore a former Girls Charity School and school mistress cottage in Church Street, Edmonton has received good news after securing funding to progress its community project. The Life in the Community scheme, led by London Historic Buildings Trust
(LHBT) and the Enfield based Learning for Life Charity (LFLC), will restore these buildings back to their former glory and enable them to become an education space once more.
The project has received initial support* of £289,838 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to allow it to progress its plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date. A further grant of £33,650 has been given by the Architectural Heritage Fund.
The long-term future for the buildings will be secured thanks to the project, providing learning and training opportunities for young people in Enfield with special educational needs or who are disadvantaged. It will also benefit the wider community through the creation of a local hub.
The Grade II listed charity school, which was built in 1793, provided education for local girls for more than a century. It was then used for various community activities before falling into disrepair and closing around 10 years ago. Historic England placed the buildings on its Heritage at Risk Register and has since liaised with LHBT who, in partnership with LFLC and with the support of Enfield Council and the Enfield Society, have identified a sustainable way forward.
Following consultation with local people, the project aims to create a permanent hub for the community that reflects the schools educational heritage. In particular, the space will be used to benefit the most vulnerable young people in the area by providing training and work experience opportunities for them alongside a community café, garden and venue for local events. It is hoped the project will help support economic recovery and further regeneration in the area.
The buildings are currently accommodating as meanwhile users six artists from the Florence Trust, an artist mentoring and residency programme, and they have turned the premises into a lively hive of creativity.
The projects development phase - which is now underway - will include further design work and surveys, acquiring planning permissions and building consents alongside more engagement with the community. All this work, which is scheduled to take place over the coming 15 months, is to facilitate securing the substantial funding that will be needed to repair the buildings and bring them back to life.
It is hoped to complete the regeneration by the end of 2026.
Georgina Nayler, Chair of LHBT, said: We are very pleased that this important project is making good progress, and this is down to a truly collaborative effort involving our great partners and the really important involvement of the community. At LHBT we are celebrating our 30th anniversary, and I cant think of a better initiative that shows our longstanding commitment to transforming places for local people and finding innovative ways to bring new life to Londons endangered historic buildings.
Renee Flourentzou of LFLC, said: LFLC is very excited to collaborate with the London Historic Buildings Trust to restore this special building in Edmonton and create an innovative community space, that provides much needed training and employment opportunities for young people in Enfield, including those with special education needs and disabilities.
Stuart McLeod, Director England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: Were pleased to support London Historic Buildings Trust with their Edmonton Charity School project. It will bring these historic buildings back to life and offer a much-needed space for the community in Enfield. Enfield is an area of focus for us, meaning we see real potential for heritage in the Borough. Its fantastic that this project will be a flagship for our work in this community and offer a place for creativity and learning for the people of Enfield. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have given our initial support to the project and look forward to working with the team ahead of their full grant application.
Laura Williams of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: These buildings are a rich part of Edmontons history, but were at risk of being lost. This project will not only restore the old school and cottage buildings and garden, but re-open the whole site to train and support young people and really benefit the local community. It is exactly the kind of vision our town and city centres need, and that we are proud to fund.
The London Historic Buildings Trust works with Historic England, local authorities and other partners and building owners to find innovative and sustainable ways to bring new life to Londons historic buildings, supporting local regeneration and helping communities thrive. LHBT aims to ensure that its projects are informed by the needs of a local community and result in positive social change and sensitive regeneration, as well as training, learning, volunteering and employment opportunities. It also works to support local people in their aspirations to safeguard local buildings, offering professional guidance through training and consultancy services. The London Historic Buildings Trust is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary year. It was set up in 1992 as the Heritage of London Trust Operations Ltd (HOLTOP) and was rebranded in 2019. www.londonhistoricbuildings.org.uk / Twitter @HeritageofLond1 / Facebook @LondonHistoricBuildings / Instagram @london.historic.buildings