A group aiming to buy Spalding court house for the public has obtained charitable status and set out its aims and objectives for the building.
The Spalding Court House Charity is looking to raise an initial amount of £300,000 to purchase the former magistrates’ court.
It is actively seeking funding from employers in the area, institutes and organisations and is also introducing crowd funding so that the local community can get involved.
The building was put on the market by the Ministry of Justice earlier this year.
A spokesman for the group, whose trustees are Terry Moore, Ann Savage, Jan Whitbourn, Percy Jackman, Harry Drury, Craig Delaney, Janet Prescott and Ken Maggs, said: “Our aim is to provide a sustainable community hub that will strengthen and enhance the lives of the people of South Holland.”
Spalding court house has been a feature of the life, history and the townscape of Spalding and South Holland since it was built in 1843.
It closed as a courthouse in 2014 amid much public outcry and, in response, the Spalding Court House Charity has been set up by a group representing local people.
In a mission statement given to the Guardian, the group says: “An active approach will be taken to developing a responsive programme of community engagement that meets the needs highlighted in the Local Plan , fulfilling the following objectives:
• Build social partnerships that engage individuals, families, businesses and charities.
• Meet the needs of our community in the heart of the community by creating a community asset in a recognised landmark.
• Bring community and voluntary groups to people they would not normally reach.
• Provide volunteer opportunities so that people can see the difference they can make to the community they live and work in.
• Preserve the Central Court as a museum for visitors and for educational purposes for schools to hold live court room events and re-enactments.
• Provide life time skills to individuals.
• Promote the area of South Holland and develop business and third sector partnerships that align the social need of this rural area with social and corporate responsibility.
• Bring together expertise and advice available to all from all sectors of the community.
• Reduce rural isolation and promote social engagement by providing local and affordable opportunities for social integration, thus addressing rural, social and cultural isolation needs.
• Provide employment and training opportunities through local employment agencies and employers.
• Provide a community building to facilitate the delivery of support services through third sector partnerships – addressing the needs and demands of the rural community of South Holland.
• Increase engagement in local charities, networks and activities.
• Reducing the impact of rural poverty by providing affordable healthy food that we take from local producers and manufacturers and also educate people in the art of cooking wholesome food at affordable prices.