A £1m plan to convert a redundant village church into hostel accommodation for visitors has been boosted by Government funding.
The former village church in Hudswell is to be made into a hostel for visitors to the area thanks to a £250,000 grant from the Community Ownership Fund
The proposal for the former St Michael and All Angels’ Church will see the listed building converted to provide up to 18 beds for cyclists and walkers, a residents’ lounge/meeting room plus a kitchen.
The project, which will boost the local tourist economy and find a new use for the church, has also received £400,000 from the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.
News of the grant funding was welcomed by Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond.
He provided practical assistance and support after the Hudswell Community Charity sent Mr Sunak their business plan for the conversion and invited him to the church to explain how the conversion would benefit the local area.
Mr Sunak said the grants were great examples of how the Government was helping local groups take over valuable community assets and run them as businesses – by the community, for the community.
He said: “St Michael’s is much-loved church and this project will preserve the heritage of the listed building and give it a new role as a tourist facility, helping to bring more visitors to the Richmond area.
“This new accommodation aimed at walkers and cyclists will also help to sustain the village’s community-owned pub.
“The charity has worked very hard on this and I’m delighted to have helped them secure this funding. When I met the team at the church, I was impressed by their plan and I am delighted that they have been successful.”
Martin Booth, secretary of the Hudswell Community Charity, said the successful Community Ownership Fund application had made the difference in ensuring the project could go ahead.
He added: “We still have a bit more fundraising to do but we are confident enough to start work on parts of the project with the aim of completing the conversion works by the end of the year.”
Planning consent has been granted for the conversion and the purchase of the building from the Church Commissioners for £20,000 has been agreed.
Grants have also been sourced from a variety of sources including the Yorkshire Dales National Park and, most recently, the Bernard Sunley Foundation.