The essential restoration of a shimmering, crystal-lined cave enabled Painshill Park Trust to offer a valuable range of employment and training opportunities, developing people’s skills and enriching the local community whilst caring for a remarkable piece of heritage.
Painshill Park, a Grade I listed landscape garden packed full of follies – including the crystal grotto – was created in the 18th century by Charles Hamilton. Over the years, the grotto had decayed, its roof had collapsed and the crystals had fallen off the walls. The Painshill Grotto Restoration project restored it to its former glory, improving access paths, reinstating a period bridge and constructing a new field study centre in the process.
The project went far beyond the restoration work alone. HLF funding was used to employ a Training and Community Development Manager who dramatically increased the Trust’s volunteer base whilst building relationships with schools, facilitating work experience placements, and offering workshops for groups with Special Educational Needs. In addition, Restoration and Garden Apprentices developed their expertise whilst working towards NVQ qualifications. By the end of the project, twice as many people had received training as initially planned and knowledge had been embedded within the organisation to safeguard the future of the grotto.
A project administrator said:
[quote]"My knowledge of the HLF was scant before taking up this role and I now realise how much impact their funding can have. Maintaining architectural heritage is of course important but empowering individuals and organisations which employ them are important legacies too."[/quote]
More information can be found on the Painshill Park website.