Help needed to plan new uses for former Co-op
A steering group that has been set up to try to find solutions to the former Co-op in Caistor Market Place has reached out for support from the local community via a press release.
Sent shortly before Christmas, (December 20, 2017), the press release might be seen as an important step by Caistor residents, many of whom seem to regard progress on the project as being shrouded in mystery.
The press release trumpets funding support by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund in helping to set up the steering committee, but does not give details on how much funding was awarded.
But given that funding applications can be a lengthy and complex process, all successful bids are likely to be seen by residents as both an achievement and a welcome development.
In what might be seen as a rebranding exercise, the press release moves away from referring to the Grade II Listed buildings as the former Co-op store and refers to the project as 2-4 Market Place, Caistor.
The buildings have been empty since the Lincolnshire Co-op moved to a purpose-built premises off Caistor High Street more than seven years ago.
At present, the steering group is made up of five local volunteers, says the press release, but it is seeking more people to join, especially to help with ‘wider project activity’.
Local historian and former Caistor Primary School headteacher Alan Dennis is among those on the steering group.
“The project is going to take a lot of our volunteer input to get sorted, but it is worth it to see the building saved and used to benefit the community,” he is quoted as saying.
It could be that the steering group is looking for very structure-specific roles from any would-be volunteers. When the Citizen’s editor engaged in an email correspondence with Mr Dennis to put her name forward, she was asked to submit a CV detailing her skills. She has since retracted her offer.
Mr Dennis added that the steering group was still due to discuss what skills were required and how it would appoint new members of its team.
Evident from the press release is the steering group’s achievement in gaining support from Heritage Lincolnshire, the Architectural Heritage Fund, and the Lincolnshire Co-op. Liz Bates, CEO of Heritage Lincolnshire, Matthew McKeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund, and Stephen Galiaard, CFO of Lincolnshire Co-op, are all quoted in the press release.
The steering group will work to identify viable new uses for the buildings, will receive advice on organisational structure and will get the chance to visit other similar successful projects to see what could be done, said the press release.
While the press release does not give contact details for would-be volunteers, it was despatched by Heritage Lincolnshire, telephone 01529 461499 or email email@example.com