Thanks to National Lottery players over £5million has been raised to support 80 community heritage projects across the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme. The milestone was reached with a grant of £97,600 to repair and restore the iconic town centre barracks. The Barracks Trust will be celebrating their building’s history in 2019, with activities to collect and share local people’s memories of the venue.

Support from National Lottery players has made a huge difference to the borough since it became a priority development area for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). In 2018 the town was one of five national hubs for Circus 250 celebrations, recognising 250 years since Newcastle born Phillip Astley invented the modern circus and set the standard size of circus rings still used today. An historic town centre building, derelict for over a decade, has been given a new lease of life, with the 17th Century Maxim’s nightclub site opening as the Belong Heritage gallery.

Commenting on the news, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands Vanessa Harbar said: “It’s inspiring to see the difference that National Lottery players and local voluntary groups have made to Newcastle’s heritage. Heritage can bring communities together and transform a place so we are looking forward to seeing groups apply for grants to put on exciting new projects in 2019.”

Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, said: “I really appreciate all the National Lottery’s efforts in backing worthwhile projects in Newcastle as a matter of priority. We are the biggest town in Staffordshire, next door to its biggest city, but with a distinct history and identity from Stoke-on-Trent. National Lottery players’ contributions are making sure that our centuries-old heritage is not only being preserved, but has been given a whole new lease of life for the benefit of the whole community.”

Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Cllr. Simon Tagg, said: “This National Lottery funding milestone is truly remarkable. We are helping to preserve some of our borough’s history for generations to come. In Newcastle we have seen significant projects come to fruition, including the refurbishment of The Barracks, which the Council also invested funding in, and the recent opening of the Belong Village project that protects the history of one of the oldest pubs in Newcastle – the site of a former pottery and parts of the former Maxim’s nightclub. To demonstrate that we are committed to supporting protection of the borough’s heritage we have included it in our new Council Plan.”

Tony Green, Chair of the Barracks Trust said: “We are really pleased we have been awarded funding by the National Lottery to do essential work on the windows in the Barracks. The building is important for the town and we are committed to preserving it for future generations. We are looking forward to working with the local community and finding out about their memories of the Barracks too.”

Belong – after works. Image courtesy of Heritage Lottery Fund
Plate spinning – the Philip Astley Project. Images courtesy of the Heritage Lottery Fund

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