Merton Council has been awarded almost £4m in earmarked funding to completely rejuvenate the Canons in Mitcham.
Dating back to 1681, the Canons is in a Conservation Area and includes three listed buildings. Following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, the council has been awarded the grant which will restore the house and grounds and fund a host of cultural and educational activities.
As part of the funding, Canons House and Madeira Hall will be restored to host events, sports activities as well as providing community facilities and a new café. The cinder running track where Dorothy Tyler, silver medallist at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, trained will be repaired for informal use by joggers and young cyclists learning to ride. A sensory garden, new wildlife pond and natural play area will also be created and the park will host food production, composting and rainwater harvesting.
£314,800 has initially been awarded to help develop the project over the coming months. The council and members of the community will then put together a detailed bid to unlock the full grant amount which will be submitted to the HLF and Big Lottery Fund in 2016. Residents will have the opportunity to put their ideas and suggestions forward through a public consultation and surveys as well as community events which will be taking place to show what the project will be offering to both local people and visitors.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper said: “This is really fantastic news for Mitcham. The Canons is a beautiful building in a lovely setting, and for years I’ve felt that the whole area should be more attractive and accessible to the people of Merton and to Mitcham’s visitors. Rejuvenating the Canons to make the most of its wonderful history and to meet the needs of all our residents will complement the host of exciting plans for the town centre through the Rediscover Mitcham project. A big thank you to everyone who gave their feedback last year about what improvements they’d like to see for the Canons. Thanks to the Lottery funding, our dreams and ideas will at last become a sustainable reality.”
Sue Bowers, Head of HLF London, said on behalf of HLF and BIG: “Parks play such an important role in our everyday lives; they boost our health, connect us to nature and are a place to spend time and have fun together. This investment will ensure the historic and community features of the Canons are in better shape so they can be enjoyed by local people long into the future.”
Notes to editors:
The Parks for People programme uses Lottery funds to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks and cemeteries. In England the two Lottery Funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks of £150m. Find out more about how to apply at www.hlf.org.uk/parks
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery
Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery. The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in 2004. It has awarded close to £6bn.