Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has been successful in securing a grant of £78,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
This resilience led heritage project will provide training for staff and volunteers, budget for advertising, and create two new roles within the staff team.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project aims to help this historic house and visitor attraction achieve long-term sustainability, so that it can continue to remain open and accessible to the people of Manchester and beyond.
Situated on Plymouth Grove, in the Ardwick area of Manchester, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House opened in 2014 following extensive restorations and now employs over 50 volunteers who help to open the house to the public three days a week and to run private tours, room hire, school visits and weddings on the other days.
The Grade II* listed House current attracts over 7000 visitors a year and is consistently given top feedback from visitors. Now that Manchester holds the UNESCO City of Literature marque, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, has an even greater value in the city, promoting the life and works of one of the cities greatest authors, alongside literature courses and creative writing workshops.
The main focus of the project will be to encourage a greater number of business to use this unique and accessible venue for meetings and events in the city, and to inspire more couples to choose the House as a venue for their wedding day.
The House can host weddings groups from 4 to 35 and has so far hosted seven weddings in its beautiful period rooms with more booked for 2019.
Three well-equipped and fully accessible seminar rooms are available to businesses to hire, each fitted with large screens and hearing loops. Unusually those attending meetings can also book a private tour for delegates or take time out of their meetings to look around the historic building independently.
Frank Galvin, Chair of Manchester Historic Buildings Trust who run the House says:
“With this National Lottery Heritage funding we will be able to face future challenges positively and become more sustainable, whilst maintaining the special inclusive atmosphere of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. We are thrilled by the news and can’t wait to get started.”
Volunteers, staff and trustees will also benefit from access to new training and a under 25’s volunteer group will also be established to help younger volunteers influence the direction of the House.
One of the house’s youngest volunteers Rana Rofifah added;
“I’ve been volunteering at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House since I was 16 and I love the opportunity it provides to meet so many different visitors and volunteers. The new under 25’s volunteer forum will give volunteers like me practical experience of working strategically in heritage and cultural organisations and will give us a voice on the board, which is an amazing opportunity.”
Nathan Lee, Head of Region North West for the National Lottery Heritage Fund said “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will help strengthen the Trust that runs Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, ensuring it is in a better position to manage, protect and share the rich heritage in its care.”