Morrab Community Project – Gardener’s House

Melissa Hardie MBE, Operations Lead of the Hypatia Trust attended the 2018 AGM meeting of the RGSC and raised the need to forge links between the RGSC and the Morrab Community Project.

The £1.5m Gardener’s House Project will restore and re-purpose a derelict Grade II Listed building, in the current ownership of Cornwall Council, located in Morrab Gardens, Penzance. It will be transformed into a resource centre, library and archive, and will create spaces from which an ambitious £0.3m programme of community engagement will be delivered.

The Hypatia Trust,  The Friends of Morrab Gardens and the Pengarth Day Centre are working  together to renovate the stables and create The Gardeners' House. In terms of facilities, the Gardener’s House will provide a community activity room with open access to the gardens, an entrance lobby with small shop area, specialist gardeners’ offices and storerooms, toilets/disabled access, stairs and platform lift to first floor. On the first floor there will be a lecture room with AV facilities, a library, archive and reading room, an office opening on seeded roof with a weather station, as well as toilets and a break-out area for refreshments/events.

For the past year the project has been developing potential partnerships for operating sustainably into the future with other local organisations dedicated to supporting and improving a healthy physical and learning environment focussed on Morrab Gardens.  The project is keen to involve the Royal Geological Society in the planning and hope for willingness to invest time and resources

Further grant applications have been made together with fundraising events to enable matched funding and to prove community enthusiasm.  With the support of the HLF and Cornwall Council this could be achieved, whilst allowing time for final funding applications to be determined and the funding package completed. Six major applications have been submitted to date, which have taken a year to develop and something over 100,000 pounds to complete, with the help of architects, consultants and licensing.

Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent was secured.

2020 Update given at AGM

Melissa Hardie gave an update on the project : quiet progress continues.

£85k has been raised toward match funding for a lined up £150k of EU grant funds, which are not now confirmed. HLF would match fund if the EU funds are granted, but the EU situation is uncertain, so invited the project to re-apply (now in process).

Proposal concerns: further planning & clarification. Questions include: who were the partners, who would be in charge, what management programme would be in place? A number of potential partners include the National Trust, Morrab Library, Morrab Gardens Trust, Cornwall Council (link with Tamsin Daniel, Heritage Services Manager), and are now asking RGSC to be on the board. Some advantages for RGSC might be administration support and an address. The organisation is not yet constituted. Frank Howie volunteered to be the link (agreed).