Ambitious plans to transform the preserved Old Girls’ School in Sherburn into a dynamic community, small business and skills training centre have taken a further step forward.
A grant of £3,653 has been awarded to Sherburn-in-Elmet Community Trust, the volunteer-run charity now managing the historic building, to enable the purchase of computers and other devices for community use.
The award has been made by Efficiency North, a social housing consortium, whose EN:Able Community Investment Fund has, during the past six years, given more than £600,000 to boost community projects across the Yorkshire region.
“This grant will be enormously helpful to the Trust,” said its Chairman, Paul Doherty.
“It will be important to have good computers and other IT equipment available to centre users once we re-open the Old Girls’ School later this year.
“Competition for this funding was very tough, as the fund received 90 applications from community groups all over Yorkshire.”
Sherburn in Elmet Community Trust, a registered charity, was formed by the Parish Council to help the Friends of the Old Girls’ School keep and improve the building, which was opened in 1876, for community use.
Trust volunteers also enable Sherburn’s Community Library to open five days a week, saving it from the threat of closure.
Part of the Old Girls’ School is already in use as a children’s nursery. Plans include a community cafe, open six days a week, a small business centre supporting local people launching new ventures and a training centre helping residents wishing to find a job or learn new skills.
The original school cost of £2,000 through the generosity of the Gascoigne Sisters, whose family lived at Lotherton Hall. Its teachers educated hundreds of Sherburn children, both girls and boys, for more than a century.