A £514,000 grant has been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to repair the historic Cumber House in Claudy and transform it into a centre for community-based events and activities.
Set in wooded grounds adjacent to Claudy Country Park, Cumber House is a large Grade B1 listed Victorian property which has played an important role in the social and economic fortunes of the village for many years. The building has been the home of John Mitchel’s GAA Club for almost 40 years and is in need of repair if it is to be preserved for future generations.
The new project will support a programme of extensive external and internal repairs to the windows, ceilings, floors as well as the reinstatement of architectural details and historic features.
Following its restoration, the building will be used to house a meeting space, function room and restaurant/café facility for use by both club members and the wider community.
A dedicated activity plan will be developed to encourage new users such as sporting clubs, local residents, park users and school children to make use of the enhanced facilities.
A programme of activities such as volunteering opportunities, courses and workshops on the environment and life long learning together with events focusing on local history and biodiversity will be used to attract in excess of 3000 visitors and 20 different groups in the first year.
Head of HLF Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, said: “This project will provide opportunities for the local community to enjoy both the natural and cultural heritage of the restored building and its grounds.
“The property’s historical and architectural significance will be highlighted through new interpretation and the programme of events and activities will ensure that Cumber House is once again at the heart of cultural and community life in Claudy, and we are delighted to be involved.”
George McKeever, a long serving Trustee of the John Mitchel’s GAA Club, said: “This is possibly the best news we have had in many years. As a Trustee of the Club, I am particularly proud that we will now be able to secure the future of this fine building for generations to come.”
“Cumber House is a truly fine building of huge local historical and architectural interest.”