The future of one of the jewels in Nottinghamshire’s cultural and heritage crown is looking brighter after funding was secured to allow its friends group to get their work underway.
The Newstead Abbey Partnership wants to conserve, maintain and develop Newstead Abbey as a heritage and tourist attraction and has successfully applied for a grant worth £40,000 in order to kickstart their project.
The money is coming from the World Monuments Fund (WMF) Britain, via The Paul Mellon Estate, and will be used to promote the site, encourage more tourists to visit and help secure further funding for vital conservation work on the Grade I listed building.
The Partnership, which consists of abbey supporters and local partners, is chaired by Dr Patrick Candler, who is also the chief executive of the Sherwood Forest Trust.
He said: “The passion and enthusiasm for Newstead Abbey remains undiminished.
“There is a tremendous wealth of experience, skills and knowledge in our new committee and we now have the challenge of co-ordinating our ideas so that we can confirm Newstead as the jewel in Nottinghamshire’s cultural and heritage crown.”
WMF Britain helped to establish the Newstead Abbey Partnership after the ancestral home of Romantic poet Lord Byron was included on the 2012 World Monuments Watch - a programme for threatened cultural heritage worldwide.
This was due to the vulnerable condition of the abbey and its estate, the substantial cost of the repair work required and the ongoing challenge of enabling public access.
The historic west front has been on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register for some time.
WMF Britain is now supporting the Partnership with its first goals - to increase opening hours, refresh the interpretation boards for visitors, improve the visitor experience and attract new users to increase revenue to the site.
Both organisations are also working with the owners Nottingham City Council, which does not have the resources to do all that is needed to be done to protect the abbey and its grounds and is glad to be working with its partners for the good of the site.
Coun Dave Trimble, the council’s portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “Newstead is a beautiful site and a real historic local gem, so we welcome the development of the Newstead Abbey Partnership to help support us conserve and develop the estate, ensuring our vision for a sustainable Newstead Abbey can be realised for future generations.
“This is an exciting time for the Abbey, with investment by Nottingham City Council already improving a number of facilities, including the roads, and we continue to attract new events and increase the annual visitor numbers.”