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Two Funding Grants Awarded

Bath Place Community Venture is pleased to announce that we have been awarded two funding grants towards the feasibility of acquiring and rebuilding our original site which was destroyed by a fire four years ago in September of 2009. We are currently in discussions with Warwickshire County Council about the social value of it's continued use as a Community facility and are very grateful and encouraged by the support of our local County Councillors Bill Gifford (Milverton), Matt Western (Willes) and Jenny St. John (Warwick North). The input of Chris White MP on our Board of Trustees is also very helpful given his role as the Social Value Ambassador for the UK.

A grant from the Social Investment Business (SIB) is currently being used to create a scheme for the site and we have been focusing on developing the brief with architectural firm Sjolander DaCruz.

It is expected that preliminary drawings should be available in early November.

A second grant from the Royal Leamington Spa Building Conservation Trust is contributing towards creating a financial forecast, Business plan and calculating the annual Social Return on Investment (SROI) that a rebuild will bring. To assist us we have engaged the services of Keith Mitchell who has also worked on such projects as the Thermae Bath Spa and the Mersey Partnership. We are eager to retain the existing Victorian buildings while conserving many of the surviving heritage features while also developing an environmentally sustainable and welcoming modern Centre for all.

We are very concerned that any alternate use would tangibly harm what is an incredibly important part of Leamington's history and heritage. The site as originally built in 1859 was the among the first National Schools and has been the focus of an extraordinary amount of community passion over the years from it's inception as a Community Centre in 1974. We hope to carry on this tradition for many years to come and deliver the wide range of services for which we are well-known and widely respected. The provision of these grants will allow us to develop a bid for the capital grants necessary to fund the immediate preservation of the existing buildings and the development of a new centre.

Bath Place Community Venture has been continuing to develop our consortium partnership with Springfield MIND and ESH Works while reaching out to other community groups and Local Agencies about joined-up service delivery. We are especially interested in the potential for re-instating the Nursery which was such an important part of our pre-fire services and have opened discussions with Surestart about future plans. Should we successfully acquire the site, we would expect to have some services up and running relatively quickly.

We also would particularly like to thank SIB, Locality, Community Matters, The Department of Communities and Local Government, The Cabinet Office and of course, Warwickshire CAVA for their invaluable assistance in providing resources, advice and support.

It goes without saying that Bath Place has a very special place in the hearts of local people and we've been contacted by countless members of the community who are cheering us on and have expressed their wishes to see the site restored to its place at the centre of Old Town Leamington.

If anyone has any time or stories to share or wants to get involved please get in touch via our Facebook site or our website www.bathplace.org

For more information please see this document (PDF file) which explains the proposals in further detail.


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