A THORNTON organisation is celebrating news that it has won lottery support that could lead to a £1 million refurbishment of its base.

South Square has received initial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project that aims to make major building improvements and run an extensive programme of activities in South Square.

South Square Centre is a grassroots community centre in Thornton that is based in a Grade II listed building, comprising 12 workers cottages around a central cobbled courtyard.

It is one of the area’s key arts and cultural hubs.

Development funding of £87,000 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, along with £15,000 from Architectural Heritage Fund, £14,000 from Arts Council England and £10,000 from Bradford Council to help South Square progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant in 2020.

The organisation has also been awarded of £125,000 from Garfield Weston’s Anniversary Fund for building repairs. The group described the grants as an “incredible confidence boost for South Square and the area.”

It will enable South Square to obtain planning permission for essential improvements including a new roof, windows and a new entranceway, with the total project costing £1million.

The project will also enable the delivery of traineeships, community, heritage and arts activities and events.

After cottage residents departed in 1970s the building, which dates back to 1832, fell into disrepair. Threats of demolition brought together a group of local residents, students and tutors from nearby Bradford College to rescue the building. Thirty unemployed local people renovated and adapted the buildings bringing them back to life. South Square was opened officially in 1985 with large scale community led festivals, parades and events. Recent events include a birthday party for Emily Brontë and international live bands performing.

The charity is very close to completing the Community Asset Transfer from Bradford Council that will secure the building for a further 99 years.

Yvonne Carmichael from South Square said: “We’re thrilled to have this significant investment and the resources to allow South Square to develop and thrive and continue to serve our local communities. South Square is one of Bradford’s hidden gems with a great grassroots heritage, we are so pleased to be able to secure the building for the next century. To say, we are over the moon is an understatement. ”

South Square urges local people to get involved. Anyone interested in running an activity or participating in the building restoration activities can contact Yvonne on y.carmichael@southsquarecentre.co.uk.

The group are also looking for expressions of interest for architectural experts to help with the project.

For more information visit http://www.southsquarecentre.co.uk/check-back-for-more-opportunities/