A CAMPAIGN to turn the birthplace of the Bronte Sisters into a new attraction and community space has received an early Christmas present.

On Friday, the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities announced the campaign to buy and refurbish the unassuming Thornton home where the sisters were born would get a £240,000 boost.

The money comes from the Community Ownership Fund – a pot of cash designed to rescue important community buildings.

The money will essentially secure the project – which has already raised over £300,000 through crowdfunding and other grants.

Reacting to the news, Christa Ackroyd, one of the people who have campaigned to make the Bronte Birthplace a top tourist attraction, posted on Facebook: "What wonderful news to wake up to.

"Our dream is now a reality, another grant means with your help we have done it. The Bronte Birthplace is saved for the nation."

Christa also told the Telegraph & Argus: "Our vision is to use the building - an important piece of the past - to inspire future generations.

"Our vision is to see schoolchildren from Bradford and beyond stood by the fireplace beside which the three sisters and Branwell Bronte were born and believe that they too can achieve - just as three Bradford girls did 200 years ago by refusing to give up on their dreams."

Although the Bronte family is more closely associated with Haworth - the village where they spent much of their lives - they were born in a terraced house on Market Street, Thornton.

Plans for the building, which has most recently been used as a cafe, include turning bedroom space into holiday lets, and creating accommodation for activity workshops and outreach projects. The building will also retain the existing cafe use.

A planning application for the work was approved by Bradford Council earlier this year.

A statement from the Government announcing the funding for the Bronte Birthplace said the works will help create "a full Bradford 2025 cultural experience".

It added: "It will add a new dimension to the story of the Bronte family in the Bradford district, enhancing connections between the birthplace and the Bronte Bell Chapel both in Thornton, and the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, where the Bronte sisters established their writing careers.

"The funding will help refurbish the building so it can offer four short-term letting rooms for visitors to Bradford and Bronte country, and to artists, writers and heritage professionals.

"It will also help establish a cafe for use by local people and visitors, and help create a community events space where schools sessions, community workshops, performances and celebrations can take place.

"The organisation will work with entrepreneurs at the local college, university and community groups to develop tourist packages, comprising walking tours in Bronte country, a full Bradford 2025 cultural experience making the Birthplace a tourist hub for the village."