Rural village revival - from tobacconists to well-being hub

The Architectural Heritage Fund is very pleased to announce that it has awarded a Project Viability Grant to Ederney Community Development Trust to help it to further develop its plans for a community well-being hub.  If successfully delivered, this will lead to the revival of a derelict listed building in the heart of Ederney, Co. Fermanagh, boosting the well-being of the village as a whole. 

A wide range of community needs were identified in an extensive consultation, carried out as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Resilient Heritage supported work in 2017, and AHF’s funding, matched by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, will support an architectural feasibility study and business plan, helping to move the project on to the next stage of investment readiness.

The former Pat Murphy’s tea rooms and tobacconists was built around 1840, and has historically formed an important focal point for the community.   The front elevation has original multi-paned shop windows, narrow double doors, an ashlar chimney stack and natural slate roof, all contributing to its early Victorian character.  It is unusual for commercial buildings of this quality to have survived almost intact, and its rarity led to the recent listing designation.  The building is now derelict, as is the adjacent (also listed) privately owned Post Office building next door.  

Despite their deteriorating condition, the group forms a pleasant rural village streetscape which, in many places across Northern Ireland, is changing fast.   The restoration and re-use of distinctive buildings in towns and villages has a critical role to play in their overall regeneration and long-term prosperity.

Martin Monaghan, Chairperson of Ederney Community Development Trust said:

"Ederney Trust and Ederney Credit Union are delighted to have received funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund to further progress the redevelopment of Pat Murphy's, a listed building of regional heritage value located on Ederney Main St.

The partnership has now raised over £27,000 to carry out the initial studies into the building and to have the AHF on board, as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is a real boost for the project!  We thank all the funders for their support for the project as we move to the business planning stage."

Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: “Streets such as Main Street in Ederney are changing fast and new ideas are going to be vital to securing the future of so many buildings like this one. It’s great to see the links being made between heritage, high streets and well-being and we look forward to seeing Ederney Community Development Trust’s plans develop.”  

About The Architectural Heritage Fund

Since 1976, the AHF has worked to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas.  It is the leading heritage social investor and only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK, and offers advice, grants and loans to projects that have the potential to deliver substantial social and economic benefits where they are needed most.

AHF’s Growing Community Enterprise Through Heritage project in Northern Ireland, which involves seed funding and advice, led by Support Officer, Rita Harkin, is made possible thanks to funding from the Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Fund and the Pilgrim Trust.

www.ahfund.org.uk

About Ederney Community Development Trust

The Trust, which also manages the historic Townhall, seeks to relieve poverty and promote the development of the community, through the provision of facilities in the interests of social welfare, and, in this case, is working in partnership with Ederney Credit Union.