More than 7,500 Northampton families will now be able to visit and explore Delapré Abbey at no cost.
As part of our continued commitment to giving back to the community, and increasing opportunities to access, we will be inviting all 7,563 households in the Delapré and Briar Hill wards of Northampton to receive an Annual Pass for 2021/2022. This is part of our programme of activity that has been supported by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport’s Culture Recovery Fund and administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Richard Clinton, Chief Executive of Delapré Abbey said: “We want to support our community to celebrate and explore what Delapré Abbey has to offer, and what better way than removing the cost for those on our doorstep.
“Since taking up this role in April last year my priority has been to engage with the local communities in and around Delapré, an area that is brimming with community spirit, and pride, and that’s something I want them to have in Delapré Abbey.
“When you’re located within a community where some face life challenges caused by deprivation, I believe any place-based charitable organisation must be mindful and really think about what direction it is taking and how it is supporting people and their chances in life. We have an essential role to play in terms of not just heritage and culture but also wellbeing and the environment and it is essential our communities are part of all we do.”
Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midlands & East the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“We’ve seen heritage organisations work extremely hard to continue to inspire and connect with the public during 2020, despite the many challenges they have faced. As we emerge from lockdown in 2021, we want to ensure there is support available to recover, reopen to the public and remain resilient, so this funding from DCMS is hugely welcome.”
Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said:
“This is great news for our residents in Delapré and Briar Hill and we want to thank Delapré Abbey staff for their efforts in securing this funding, which will not only enable the local community to truly enjoy the Abbey but will also boost their local knowledge and pride.”
This initiative is just one of many ambitious plans Richard and the team have for the Abbey and our 2021 business plans aim to focus on the following areas:
· Heritage – the Trust is developing a 3-year plan with Heritage and Interpretation specialists to further develop the heritage and exhibition spaces. This work will build upon existing stories and new themes to make the history more accessible and engaging to all.
· Culture – initiatives and ideas for making more of the grounds are underway and will focus on blending the natural environment with art. This will support a range of cultural events and activities that will take place in the grounds, further raising the awareness of the 550-acre park and its surroundings for all to enjoy.
· Wellbeing – a new strategy is being developed with links to local organisations such as Action for Happiness, Northampton Leisure Trust and General Practice Alliance. The Trust recently submitted a bid to the Thriving Communities fund worth £70k to deliver improved awareness and access to social prescribing activities. The Trust has submitted a joint research funding bid with the University of Northampton which has also been agreed for research into how people use the grounds for their physical activity.
· Environment – there are plans to launch a Green Gym pilot – to enable people to undertake soft physical exercise through green projects, such as planting, cultivating, footpath laying and hedgerow trimming.
· Food & Beverage – work is underway to refurbish the Orangery Café situated on the South Lawn which will improve the customer experience and feature a lounge area and an improved flow to the space. This work will be completed by March 2021.
· Bringing life back to the 19th Century Stables and Lodge – The team are developing the options appraisal that will kick start the work to bring these areas back to life. This space will offer unique wellbeing, retail and office space within the grounds, in-creasing the public’s engagement with the site and animating the currently unloved aspect of the grounds.
Despite the challenges and ongoing restrictions caused by Covid, Richard and his team have worked hard to raise the profile of the Abbey over the last 12 months, delivering a packed events programme, launching a high-profile Wedding with Thanks competition, welcoming more visitors to the historic house, entertaining diners in the on-site rosette-winning restaurant and opening a brand-new deli and café.
Residents living within the Delapre and Briar Hill Wards are asked to register their interest in obtaining an annual pass by emailing their name and address to: firstname.lastname@example.org