Historic almshouses set for restoration
TRUSTEES of Alford's historic almshouses are in the final stages of a fundraising drive to restore the buildings to their former glory.
The Sir Robert Christopher's Almshouses Charity 2012 launched an appeal to raise £425,000 to bring the Grade II listed properties back up to modern living standards in August last year.
The charity received a grant of £200,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) towards the project which has now been matched through fundraising efforts of local and national organisations.
The HCA grant is dependant on building work starting by September 26 and due to an increase in costs, a further £50,000 is needed before then.
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David Wood, chairman of the trustees, said: "The response to the appeal has been tremendous.
"We have matched the £200,000 grant which has included a contribution from the national almshouse association but the local appeal has raised nearly £70,000 on its own.
"The response from the community has been fantastic."
The almshouses, on West Street, were built in 1670 following the death of Sir Robert Christopher who was living in the manor house at the time.
He left money for the building work to help house the poor.
The original construction was likely to have been mud-and-stud but this was upgraded in the 1870s when the present brick and slate building was constructed.
Originally six units, a scheme in the 1960s saw a conversion to just four units which form the basis of the redevelopment project.
Planning permission for the new proposals was granted in April 2010.
Mr Wood said that the charity would consider all possible sources for the funding.
"It would be a travesty if it was to fail," he said. "We are open to any offers because we feel having got the commitment for £400,000 we are so near that we can't see all that work wasted.
"The amount of support we have had has been brilliant so hopefully we can find this last bit of money."
Anybody who may be able to help with the fundraising should contact the Trustees' Clerks, Tinn Criddle & Co in Alford High Street or by calling 01507 462882.