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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Historic Cumbrian building on view before major revamp

A landmark building is to open its doors to the public for the very last time before it undergoes a major transformation.

Whitehaven YMCA photo
YMCA, Irish Street

There will be free guided tours next month of the former YMCA in Whitehaven, which is being renovated into a community resource centre to support young adults.

The Grade-II listed building will provide 17 flats, job training and support for those in need aged between 17 and 23 when the development, called Whitehaven Foyer, opens.

And as part of the national Heritage Open Days annual events weekend, the Townscape Heritage Initiative and Copeland Council will open the doors of the renowned Irish Street building.

Hugh Branney, Copeland councillor responsible for community regeneration and young people, called the tour of the YMCA building a “local highlight”.

“The building is steeped in history and we hope people will come along to see it before the development work begins, take photographs for posterity and mark the day as another milestone in the town’s chronicles,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to raise awareness of our area’s heritage and the benefits of conservation-led regeneration. We have designed the tour to engender community participation so people can learn more about their local heritage. They will also be able to find out about our plans to meet the future needs and aspirations of our local young people, so that we can help improve their life choices and chances.”

The £2.3 million scheme is being underpinned by significant investment, including £550,000 from the Townscape Heritage Initiative.

This funding is part of a pot of over £1.3m it has available to help property owners improve key buildings in the Market Place and James Street area of Whitehaven over the next five years.

The tours, on Friday, September 12, will begin at the Howgill Family Centre on Catherine Street, with a brief talk about the history of the building and a chance to view the plans for the site drawn up in conjunction with Impact Housing.

Those who wish to view the building for a final time will be required to wear hard hats and protective footwear which will all be provided for the tour. Due to the building’s poor state of repair, they will also need to be able to walk on uneven surfaces and climb steps. 

To book visit www.copeland.gov.uk/thi/thi-events or call 01946 598351.

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