Community group secures £10k to support Elvaston Castle takeover bid
A COMMUNITY group looking to take over the running of Elvaston Castle has won £10,000 to back its bid.
The popular visitor attraction is currently owned by Derbyshire County Council but the authority wants to sell it because of high maintenance costs.
However, previous plans to turn the site into a hotel and golf course fell through – leaving both the castle and the grounds up for grabs again.
The retendering process is due to take place this year and council bosses are not expecting to be short of options, having received interest from a number of organisations.
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Chief among those groups is Friends of Elvaston Castle, which has joined forces with Social Enterprise East Midlands to establish an organisation to run the estate.
This partnership has now won funding from the Social Investment Business, a London-based group which backs community schemes across the country.
This cash will be used to fund research and legal advice to help support its bid.
Graham Mansey, chairman of the Friends of Elvaston Castle, said he was delighted with the funding boost.
He said: "It enables the group to further build its capacity, investigate alternative legal structures and look to develop new partnerships with others who share this vision."
He said the group, which has been campaigning to secure the castle's future for more than a decade, recognised that it needed broader community representation.
Mr Mansey continued: "The time is now right for a new group to be formed that embraces input and ideas from all sectors of the community.
"The friends will continue to have a voice but it will be one amongst many in what I hope will be a truly multi-agency approach."
Roger Moors, from Social Enterprise East Midlands, explained how he saw the future of the group's bid to run the Elvaston estate.
He said: "The formation of a new community group with a shared vision for the future of Elvaston Castle will help drive forward plans but also have the credibility to be the representative voice on whatever trust-type body is eventually formed.
"This group would include the friends and ourselves but also many other groups and individuals who have an interest in the future of Elvaston Castle.
"The funding that has been secured is a great start and it will mean that we can go to apply for further support of up to £100,000 as we develop feasibility plans."