Hyndburn Council are pleased to announce their £5million funding bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund was submitted on the 16th August. This is a further step on the transformational journey of a heritage-led future for Accrington and Hyndburn and will transform the Market Chambers building opposite the Market Hall into a Heritage, Culture and Arts space.

Over £40 million of funding has so far been secured since the launch of Hyndburn Council’s ‘Accrington Town Centre Investment Plan’ in January 2022. Many of the interventions, focus around the Town Square’s prominent buildings, with the aim of kick-starting the local economy and to encourage sustainable growth, not just for the town centre but for the whole borough.

This most recent funding bid follows after almost 12 months of work with experienced consultants and commenced with undertaking resident polling and community workshops. This involved people of all ages, backgrounds and experience which was instrumental in influencing and shaping an exciting and innovative space for this prominent town centre building.

The bid was produced with guidance from Engagement Leads at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, input from Hyndburn’s Culture, Heritage and Investment Panel and Accrington Town Centre Board, plus feedback on the project vision from the newly created ‘Levelling Up Places Service’ (LUPS) funded by DLUHC.

The bid document ran to 30,000 words with 25 supporting annexes and included concept design ideas for exhibition spaces with an overarching vision of:

“Hyndburn is global. Its inventions and their impacts have changed the course of history. Its social fabric has been shaped by the world. The North and the UK’s story is interweaved with that of Hyndburn’s.

“We will tell that global story and impact through the lived experiences of local people. Those stories, noises, sights, feelings and smells will be told in experiential and multisensory ways with collections and physical objects alongside this intangible heritage.”

Plans include showcasing local inventions that have had global impact including the spinning jenny, NORI bricks and the textile dying process. The ambition of the new cultural heritage space will celebrate achievements of the past to inspire the future with immersive and interactive experiences, some of which will be within changeable and flexible spaces.

The proposals also include ideas for a performance space, activity/events space and a welcome space people can enjoy refreshments in whilst socialising, relaxing or working.

Cllr Mohammed Younis, Portfolio Holder for Levelling Up, said:

 “This is fantastic news and I would like to thank all partners and members of the community who have taken part in the polling, surveys, workshops and engagement sessions to date. It is through this local insight and knowledge the council have been able to submit a bid that is proposing the creation of a cultural hub truly unique to us. It reflects our heritage and also looks to what future generations want to see and experience.

“I am looking forward to hopefully hearing the news of our success and invite the whole of Hyndburn to cross their fingers with us! I encourage everyone to please get involved whenever invited to over the coming months and years. There will be lots more opportunity to shape what this centre will become, alongside sharing thoughts about other buildings and projects as plans for Accrington’s transformation progress.”

Gillian Berry, Arts and Heritage Manager at Hyndburn Council and member of Hyndburn’s Culture, Heritage and Investment Panel, said:

 “It is a really exciting time for Hyndburn and I am proud to have been part of the group who have helped to steer this bid. There are lots of transformational plans already in motion and it was really important to us that we used this opportunity to build on our heritage. The creatives, businesses and pioneers of the past have shaped who we are today, telling their story helps our community feel proud of where they come from and encourages higher aspirations for the future, particularly for young people. If the funding bid is successful, the new cultural hub in Accrington will really complement the fantastic collections and facilities at Haworth Art Gallery and be another wonderful asset for Hyndburn.”

 The Council will know the outcome of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Development Stage submission by the end of December 2023. The first stage involves partial allocation of funding, for further consultation and development of the project for 12 to 15 months, to a point where work is ready to start on site.

If successful in the development stage the council then moves to the next stage and will seek approval for final delivery works, with the remaining funding award to create the new facility.