The Reader has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Calderstones Mansion House project. The overall project plans to renovate the Mansion House and launch as an International Centre for Shared Reading in 2016.
Development funding of £115,200 has been awarded to help The Reader develop their plans for a £1.8 million capital application. For this first stage funding The Reader have created the role of Heritage Stories Maker, whose focus will largely be on exploring the history of Calderstones Park and creating community projects aimed at allowing various groups to learn about the history of the grounds.
The biggest of these projects The Big Dig will take place over the summer in association with National Museums Liverpool. Named after the Neolithic stones discovered in the 18th Century, Calderstones Park will be accessed for the first time by the public for historical excavations. The date for the big dig and how community members can take part will be released over the coming weeks on The Reader website through The Big Dig blog. Further plans include the creation of a heritage room within the mansion bringing to life the building’s own specific history for visitors to discover.
The building is currently home to 9 weekly shared reading groups and both The Reader Café and Gallery with the Coach House soon to become The Reader’s Head Office. Built in 1828 for Joseph Need Walker, a lead shot manufacturer. In 1875 the house and estate were acquired by Charles McIver, founder of Cunard Line, for £52,000. In more recent years the Mansion has largely been used for offices belonging to Liverpool City Council.
There will also be opportunities for members of the community to help raise funds for further elements of the mansion redevelopment, including a community development committee which will oversee and help with fundraising efforts. This initial grant allows The Reader to start the first steps on a much longer journey of development in creating the worlds first International Centre for Shared Reading.
“We’re really excited about the possibilities this first stage grant offers Calderstones Mansion House and the potential further funding and development will have on this beautiful building. We have plans to create a very special International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing here and this funding allows us to start realising those plans.”
Jane Davis, founder and director, The Reader
*A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.
On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme.