Community involvement crucial for £500k bid

Burnby Hall Gardens assistant estate manager Peter Rogers and Heritage Lottery Fund development officer Dr Gerardine Mulcahy-Parker.
Burnby Hall Gardens assistant estate manager Peter Rogers and Heritage Lottery Fund development officer Dr Gerardine Mulcahy-Parker.

Pocklington’s iconic Burnby Hall Gardens wants the local community to get involved with a major project to safeguard its picturesque lakes and its national collection of hardy water lilies, which are in danger.

The walls of the lake are crumbling and rising silt levels now threaten both the lilies and the fish in the lakes.

In an attempt to address this serious problem the Burnby Hall Gardens Trust, which manages the estate, is working to secure a grant of £500,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the lake walls and de-silt the lakes.

However, in order for the grant bid to be successful, the Gardens’ needs to encourage community engagement.

The challenging project will also involve the restoration of historic outbuildings and the provision of a range of community and educational resources and the recruitment of volunteers and much more for the people of Pocklington.

The Gardens has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has been awarded funding of £20,900 to develop the project. The person developing the activity programme for the grant bid is Heritage Lottery Fund development officer, Dr Gerardine Mulcahy-Parker, who says the project aims to restore the heritage for the benefit of communities and to ensure that they can learn about and participate in that heritage.

She explained: “It is essential the community are given access to heritage throughout the process. Where possible we will have behind-the-scenes tours. It is important they understand the history of it.

“We will not secure the £500,000 grant unless we get the community involved in the project.”

Peter Rogers, assistant estate manager at the Gardens, said: “We really hope that the local community will get behind us in respect of this fantastic project through which we hope to secure Major Stewart’s legacy for generations to come.”

The restoration project is due to get underway in 2016, and continue over the next three years.

Mr Rogers added: “Gerardine is currently consulting with a wide variety of schools, groups and individuals who use the Gardens, as we anticipate that there will be opportunities for further community involvement in this exciting project once it gets off the ground.”

As part of the project, there are plans to restore the Edwardian summer house/potting shed at the Gardens.

The popular attraction has been described as a “jewel in Yorkshire’s crown” and was originally the estate of Major Stewart, traveller, adventurer and collector.