Abney Park Trust is delighted to announce that Hackney Council has been awarded £4.4m by the National Lottery to make significant improvements to Abney Park.
Funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund will see Abney Park’s historic chapel brought back into use as a venue, the development of a new café and classroom at the park’s main entrance, as well as a new accessible entrance on Church Street, which will encourage more visitors to the park to enjoy its history and biodiversity.
Work to restore the interior of the Chapel will include a new floor, new toilet facilities, electricity, lighting and new seating at balcony level. The new classroom and café, located at the Stoke Newington High Street entrance, will provide refreshment for park visitors, as well as interpretation of the site’s incredible history, and an environmentally friendly heat pump will be installed in the park to provide heat and hot water to the park’s new buildings.
The Council will contribute an additional £710,000 to the National Lottery funding, which will bring total investment to over £5m.
Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, said:
“We’re committed to investing in our parks and green spaces – of which a record 27 have green flags – so we can encourage more people to come and enjoy their incredible variety, history and biodiversity. High quality green spaces are not only beautiful, but are a vital common resource that improve wellbeing, help us respond to climate change and bring communities together.
“We’re thrilled to have been awarded this funding to protect and improve Abney Park Cemetery, which has a special place in the hearts of people in Hackney. Radicals, anti-slavery campaigners and dissenters all form part of its incredible history, which the new cafe, classroom and restored chapel will help to open up to more people and generate income towards the ongoing improvement of the park. I’d like to thank the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund, as well as the Abney Park Trust, Abney Park User Group and officers in the Council’s parks service for their belief in this project and work to make this happen.”
Stuart McLeod, Area Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“London’s parks and cemeteries are vital spaces for wildlife and communities and today’s funding will ensure a bright future for both at Abney Park. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, since 1994 more than £950 million has been invested into regenerating the UK’s parks and cemeteries and we’re delighted that Abney Park is part of that incredible funding story.”
Run by volunteers, the Trust promotes a wide range of activities including history and wildlife talks and walks, a spring and autumn fayre, open air theatre and other cultural events. We also support families and historians with grave searches. Over the last twenty years we have maintained a dedicated and sensitive approach to the care and stewardship of the cemetery’s unique history. We are excited by the award of this funding and hope that the improved facilities will make the park more sustainable and enable us to put on more events and activities to support the local community.