What’s Happened Since A Very Merry Mansion?
A little over three months ago, our story began and we’d like to thank you for your support along the way!
Strong friendships have been formed and the people of Dewsbury have pulled together, working towards retaining the Park Mansion as a community building – just as the Dewsbury Corporation intended back in 1893. “The Friends of Dewsbury Park Mansion” was formed by local people in November 2016, and since then we’ve been working hard behind the scenes with Kirklees Council and Locality.
The Merry Mansion community engagement event in December saw over 350 people discover local organisations, take part in hand bell ringing, craft activities, and spoken word workshop and performances. There were festive refreshments, a Victorian photo shoot, raffles and of course the Santa’s Grotto. The thoughts and ideas that visitors contributed were wonderful and have informed how we move forwardOne visitor commented, “I’ve lived here ten years and this is the first time I’ve felt part of a community.” That is exactly what we want to create and grow at the Park Mansion.
Huge thanks for the funds you donated too. We’re mindful that this support should be used very carefully and are currently crunching numbers to ensure it goes as far as possible. We’ll keep you up to date on that too.
Since A Very Merry Mansion, we’ve met with representatives from Kirklees to begin the process of a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) – an exciting opportunity here described on the My Community website:
“Community Asset Transfer is the transfer of management and/or ownership of public land and buildings from its owner (usually a local authority) to a community organisation (such as a Development Trust, a Community Interest Company or a social enterprise) for less than market value – to achieve a local social, economic or environmental benefit.
Thousands of buildings and spaces across England, such as swimming pools, town halls, libraries and parks, have all been taken on and successfully managed by community organisations for the benefit of their local community.”
Our first job has been to prepare an Expression of Interest in the building, which we will hand inon 6 March 2017. It’s involved consideration of how the building might benefit the community, engineer and fire safety consultant visits, funding applications, visiting other CATs to see what can be achieved, and much more.
When the Expression of Interest is handed in to Kirklees for consideration, they will decide if we can take on the Mansion. If we’re successful, we’ll have around 6 weeks to produce a viable business plan – something we’re already preparing for!
In the meantime we’re busy planning more exciting community engagement events and a consultation. We’d like to see how you imagine the Mansion could be put to use for the benefit of all in Dewsbury – your ideas are always welcome, and your continued support is wonderful!
- February 10, 2017