Fabulous funding news as Heritage Lottery Fund gives our project the green light

We are delighted to announce that our plan to rescue Horton Chapel and turn it into a thriving arts hub has become a reality thanks to a major capital grant made possible by National Lottery players.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded us a grant of £1.44 million, which means that work can now start on transforming the vacant historic building. Thanks to National Lottery players, the grant means that the empty Grade II listed building is scheduled to open as a not-for-profit arts and heritage centre at the end of 2019.

The award will help to pay for the structural work to bring the long-vacant building back to life, including a new slate roof, and the refurbishment works for which the project received planning permission earlier this year with the help of heritage architects Crane & Associates.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, which has owned the building since 2004, has also committed to release up to £1.45 million in ring-fenced funding towards the Horton Chapel Project. These funds will now be unlocked, and ownership of the building transferred to the charity, following the award from the HLF.

The building will be open to all with a year-round programme that will include creative learning, music, theatre and dance performance, and exhibitions. The centre will include a café and bar, as well as a permanent exhibition that underlines the significance to the borough’s history of the psychiatric hospital cluster of which Horton Chapel was a part. There will also be space to hire for community groups, and hospitality facilities for parties, wedding receptions and conferences.

This HLF funding follows development grants of £300,000 from the HLF and £25,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund, which were awarded last year to pay for building surveys, market research, business planning, architectural design, planning and listed building consents. The Horton Chapel team will still need to do further fundraising over the coming months.

Trustees from left to right: David Gulland, Julian Waters, Janice Heyes, Ian Reeves, Kirstie Arnould, Claire Harris, Rupert Salmon, Lionel Blackman and Maria Reeves

Ian Reeves, the charity’s chairman, said: “This is a massive moment for us because without this funding the project could not have gone ahead. To everyone who has ever bought a National Lottery ticket, thank you – your money will have a have an uplifting effect on the whole area. We’ve had fantastic support from the council, our funders, a host of volunteers and our professional suppliers. There is a lot of work still to do, but we can’t wait to get started.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “I am thrilled The Horton Chapel Project has been awarded more than £1.4million of National Lottery funding.  Heritage makes a huge difference to people and the places they live.  It will be exciting to see how this fantastic project progresses and the positive effect it has on the local community now that funding has been confirmed.”

Councillor Barry Nash, Chairman of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Community & Wellbeing Committee, said: “This is a huge step forward in creating a cultural hub within Epsom and Ewell and we congratulate the team involved for their efforts and dedicated hard work in making the scheme a reality. We wish the team all the very best with their plans.”