£6m restoration at 700 year old Coventry venue

A 700-year-old Coventry venue is marking a year since reopening after a £6m restoration by launching a grants programme to get the community involved in heritage activities.

St. Mary’s Guildhall, located in Coventry’s historic cathedral quarter, will offer the opportunity for city organisations to help more people engage with the venue through community heritage initiatives with the launch of a grants scheme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in partnership with Coventry City Council.

The community grants will help organisations access up to £8,000 each in grant funding to deliver projects. These can range from exhibitions and performances to workshops and displays inspired by or hosted at the Guildhall, which is operated by No Ordinary Hospitality Management.

The scheme aims to encourage a long-lasting relationship with Coventry’s history among the communities of Coventry by increasing opportunities to experience St. Mary’s Guildhall and enrich their connection to the city – and applications are now open for organisations to get involved.

The launch of the grant scheme marks 12 months since the Guildhall reopened following a major £6m programme of renovation which supported much needed enhancements to the historic site including improved accessibility, the conservation and redisplay of the Coventry Tapestry, and the development of state-of-the-art heritage interpretation facilities including augmented reality tours.
This investment has also enabled the Guildhall to deliver many outreach and engagement activities to families, schools and the wider community.  The community grants scheme now provides the opportunity for organisations to get more actively involved.  

A total of £30,000 is available, split into two tiers. Tier 1 grants of between £2,000 and £8,000 are available for larger projects to which only constituted organisations may apply, while Tier 2 grants feature smaller awards of between £250 and £1,999.

Applications for the first round of funding close on 15 September.

Niamh Carton, Community Engagement Manager at St Mary’s Guildhall, said: “We’re really excited to be launching this next phase of our community engagement programme. This grant has given us the ability to do some fantastic and exciting work in this first year, and we can't wait to build on this over the next year.”

“We are really hoping that we will get to see some exciting projects coming from this. There are so many innovative ways for communities in Coventry to engage with the Guildhall and its stories, and we are so excited to see what ideas are presented. We want to keep telling our local stories for future generations.”

Councillor David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Coventry City Council, said: “We’re delighted to be working with No Ordinary Hospitality Management to launch this grants scheme as part of the community engagement programme. “The community grants scheme is a fantastic opportunity for organisations across the city to access funding that will help them deliver heritage projects. They can be delivered in St Mary’s Guildhall or organisations can take them into the community. “Alongside the physical transformation of St Mary's Guildhall, this scheme is a vital part of the project to remove barriers so we can reach new and diverse audiences.”

Further information, including eligibility criteria and application guidance, can be found at www.stmarysguildhall.co.uk/community-grants.



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