Friends of Birley Spa chosen for special support

The Friends of Birley Spa has been chosen as one of 30 groups in the north to receive special support.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 16:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 11:57 am
The Birley Spa Friends Group protesting about the possible auction of the Birley Spa Bath House last year...........Pic Steve Ellis

Prosper North, a business support programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, picked the campaign group out of 80 applicants to receive mentoring and business advice, as part of the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

Fiona Milne, of the FOBS, said: “A Victorian Bath House is not something they’ve done before.

“I was just at the point of panicking thinking we’ve not got it.

“It was wonderful, we were quite optimistic about it – we could say a lot of good things about the bath house. It ticks so many boxes for what people value these days. It was a really good moment.”

She added that there was ‘momentum building’ within the campaign. They are currently working to become a registered charity and recently came to an agreement with the council to save the site.

Sessions with Prosper North are due to start by the end of this month.

Ms Milne added: “None of us are experts but we’ve got the passion. We’ve been so lucky with the support from the heritage community.

“It feels so nice now and at the situation where the council said they will help too.”

Birley Spa bath house, in Hackenthorpe, is the only one of its kind in the region.

The 177-year-old Grade-II listed building is also surrounded by beautiful woodland.

The group have been fighting to save it since spring last year when the council tried to auction it with a guide price of up to £100,000.

This was fought off by the campaign and the council agreed to postpone the sale for talks between the council and community.

But earlier this year the council put it up for auction again. This has since been halted and the council have agreed to work towards a future for the bath house in which it is kept in the public’s hands.