Bolton’s Rock Hall redevelopment awarded £450K

An ambitious project to bring Bolton landmark Rock Hall “back to life” has received a half-million pound cash boost.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund jointly awarded £466,662 to Bolton Council and Banana Enterprise Network – a local charity which provides training and support to unemployed people in Greater Manchester, and is spearheading the project.

The money will go towards the next phase of the redevelopment of Bolton’s Rock Hall. Built in 1807, the hall has fallen into disrepair, and has been closed since 2014.

As well as “urgent” repair work, the development stage will include community heritage events, and further design work, and is projected to cost £750,000.

When the redevelopment is complete, the hall will contain a café, as well as multipurpose community spaces.

Moses Gate Country Park, which contains Rock Hall, will also receive improvements including a sensory space, and an area for wellbeing activities. Local ‘community champions’ will be trained to maintain the grounds.

Coun Nadeem Ayub, Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, said: “Rock Hall is of great importance to the local community and I am delighted with the future vision for an important part of the town’s heritage.

“Today’s announcement is great progress in bringing a local cultural asset back to life.

“This funding means Rock Hall will benefit from the investment and development it needs and is a significant step forward in terms of regeneration activity beyond Bolton town centre.”

The council describes the project as “pioneering”, because it is the first use of a Community Asset Transfer process for a disused historic building.

Bolton Council will transfer ownership of the building to Banana Enterprise Network.

Jayne Allman, CEO of Banana Enterprise Network, said: “This is a major achievement for our small charity. We are just ordinary people who decided to take on this extraordinary challenge.”

Main picture credit: John Tustin

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