Thursday February 25 2016

Oldham's Sir Norman Stoller performs ceremony at Gorton Monastery

Businessman and philanthropist, Sir Norman Stoller, performed the ground-breaking ceremony at Gorton Monastery, marking the start on site to construct the £3 million Welcome Wing.

Oldham's Sir Norman Stoller performs ceremony at Gorton Monastery

The eco-friendly 6,650 sq ft building has been made possible through a £1million donation from the Stoller Charitable Trust together with a grant of almost £2million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Monastery of St Francis & Gorton Trust, the charity that is responsible for the E.W. Pugin-designed former Church and Friary, is building a new front wing for the 150 year old Grade II* listed buildings, on the footprint of an original building taken down in the 1960s. It will provide flexible, purpose-designed and carbon-neutral space, allowing the Trust to expand and extend its facilities and projects for the local community and general visitors, while continuing to host corporate and private events.

With building work expected to be completed this year, it is anticipated that the Welcome Wing will open to the public early in 2017.

Urgent conservation work on the Chancel of the Great Nave will also see floors repaired, altars stabilised and paint schemes protected and conserved, which are all vital to ensure future generations are able to enjoy the historic buildings.

Elaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Monastery Trust said  “It’s great to see a spade in the ground at last. I am really looking forward to watching our plans become reality right before our eyes. This is the biggest investment we have made in the building since we completed the major £6.5 million restoration work to save the Monastery in 2007. We are immensely grateful for the generous support of Sir Norman Stoller and Trustees of the Stoller Charitable Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other donors.  We will soon realise our long-held ambition to ‘Open Every Day for Everyone’, making the Monastery a permanent resource for schools, the community and the general public to experience and enjoy all of the time. We will remain open for business as usual and will continue to hold our free open days, so visitors and clients can view the work in progress.” 

Sir Norman Stoller, Founder of the Stoller Charitable Trust said: “Gorton Monastery is widely regarded as a jewel in the crown of Manchester’s rich heritage. The creation of permanent learning spaces for educational purposes, community space with dedicated education room as well as health and well-being and visitor facilities, will once again see one of UK’s finest heritage assets open every day for everyone. The Stoller Charitable Trust is proud to assist in completing the restoration of this architectural masterpiece which has established itself in recent years as the UK’s Best Unusual Venue”

Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North-West said: “Gorton Monastery is already a hugely significant landmark for the people of Manchester and is a well-used community space. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will significantly add to Gorton’s already impressive offer by helping create the new Welcome Wing and allow the continuation of urgent conservation works. This project demonstrates how a heritage building, while providing an important link to a community’s roots, can also be adapted for the needs of today.”

"Its great to see a spade in the ground at last. I am really looking forward to watching our plans become reality right before our eyes."
Elaine Griffiths from the Monastery Trust

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