A DERELICT Pershore building is set to receive a major facelift after the town council were awarded a grant of more than £50,000.
The Cemetery Lodge on Defford Road has been empty for 18 months but Pershore Town Council have secured £52,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to convert it into a Family History Research Centre.
Led by the town council, the project focuses on mapping the cemetery and researching the families behind some of the graves.
Refurbishment over the next 12 months will see the lodge developed to include IT communications which will enable visitors to find out about the lives of families of those buried at the site.
Additionally displays will be created to explain the role of the workhouse in the town and the identify the large number of pauper graves at the cemetery as well as the war graves sections.
The development will also work in partnership with Worcestershire County Council’s heritage department.
Coun Chris Parsons, chairman of the cemetery committee, said: “This is a very exciting project which will prove extremely useful to the people of Pershore enabling them to research family history and understand more about the town they live in.
“The Cemetery Committee is most grateful to Ann Dobbins, town clerk, for all her work in obtaining the lottery grant.”
Pershore town clerk Ann Dobbins worked tirelessly to push the grant through, having started the process about 12 months
ago, she had to wait to secure planning permission to change the use of the building from residential to a family history centre.
“I’m thrilled to bits with the grant,” Mrs Dobbins said. “It’s the culmination of years of hard work, but it’s well worth it.
“It gives the opportunity for people to be able to access various records, and not just empty records because we have also gone into partnership with the county council.
“I had to put in a very detailed bid for exactly what we were going to do, as the lottery fund like to see community involvement.
“Because it will become a community effort and enable volunteers to get involved in all aspects of mapping the cemetery, taking photographs, looking for what wildlife’s there, the lottery fund liked the idea.”
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy.
HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.3billion across the UK.