When Heptonstall Museum was placed on Calderdale Council’s community asset transfer list, a core group of Heptonstall residents took immediate action to save its future and founded ‘Friends of Heptonstall Museum’ (“FOHM”). Following a rigorous appraisal process of their plans by the Council, they received exciting news confirming their successful application.
Their business plan has clear goals to showcase and encourage participation, understanding and involvement in making the most of Heptonstall’s incredibly broad and diverse spectrum of talent. They aim to celebrate Heptonstall’s evolution into a uniquely preserved, hilltop village, whilst preserving its proud past encompassing economic, social and artistic determination – true ‘Yorkshire grit’.
Whilst the museum will remain closed until completion of the lease to FOHM, the Council has agreed for FOHM to be able to use the building for two special occasions to include participation in Heritage Open Days in September and the much-anticipated Sylvia Plath Literary Festival taking place in October.
Local resident and FOHM Chair, Tim Machin said:
“This is a wonderful way to celebrate the Museum’s golden anniversary year. We want to create a museum that provides a place where we can come together as a community to explore our shared past and build a shared future and make our village and our planet better places to live and a welcoming place for everyone.”
Cllr Silvia Dacre, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said:
“ As part of our Future Council work to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 and our already challenging, pre-pandemic financial position, we have been exploring interest from community groups to take over the running of some of our buildings.
“It has been a great pleasure to work with the talented and passionate Friends of Heptonstall Museum on this community asset transfer, which will breathe new life into the museum and create a sustainable future, maintain valued public services and give access to a wider range of funding opportunities.”
Cllr Jenny Lynn, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, added:
“ It’s wonderful to see the community group’s commitment to the borough and their exciting ideas for Heptonstall Museum’s future as we move towards the Vision2024 for Calderdale and the Year of Culture in 2024. Working together to harness our local heritage and culture is a key part of our new CultureDale brand, and continues the development of Calderdale’s growing profile as a vibrant cultural destination.”
The Friends will now begin in earnest to plan the reopening of the museum in Spring 2023.
They will be organising further community consultation, enlisting further financial support and identifying keen volunteers who can help deliver their ambitious plans. If you would like to support the museum, you can contact them via their website
(www.heptonstallmuseumfriends.org.uk(external link)) or via their social media sites.