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Funding helps keep rich history of village life alive

Grants for over £10,000 will help keep the 17th century, Sir John Moore, Grade I listed building in Appleby Magna an integral part of the community’s history.

Awarded by the Mercia Park Community Fund, the £350,000 Social Value pot set up by IM Properties, is established to assist local communities surrounding its 238-acre scheme near junction 11, M42.


Both the Sir John Moore Foundation and the Sir John Moore Primary school located in the building designed by Sir Christopher Wren, have received £6555 and £4995 respectively to help further projects across the generations.


The Sir John Moore Foundation is to use the money to fund its Evolving Education Project, to create new and engaging displays in the museum and an oral history project to record living history over three time periods, early 18thcentury through to the present day.


The intergenerational project will include conversations between the young and elderly to enhance the museum’s digital platform, creating an online Victorian school experience, which fits with the school’s curriculums and creating revenues from a wider range of visitors.


Heather Griffin, heritage centre manager for Sir John Moore Foundation said the museum had worked hard through the pandemic to find new and innovative ways to keep community heritage engagement alive.


“The project is a great way to bring our heritage volunteers together with pupils from the primary school, to record their conversations and as one of the volunteers describes it,  passing the memory baton down the generations.


“The older volunteers love sharing their stories and the children love listening to them.


“As well as social benefits of such a project, it will create a more resilient platform, and ensure the museum continues to remain relevant as a hugely important heritage asset.”


The Appleby Magna Primary School which evolved from a free school established by the prominent London businessman, Sir John Moore, some 300 years ago, also hopes to engage pupils, parents and grandparents to create a new outdoor area, including sensory planters for use as a reflective, calming area and quiet, natural teaching space.”


Siobhan Daniels from the Friends of SJM said whilst being located in a heritage building was an incredibly rich teaching setting for the children, the building also presented challenges in terms of upkeep and a constant programme of fundraising was essential.


“It’s not been easy during COVID as much of our fundraising events have had to be cancelled. The grant helps us preserve our reserves for books and essential equipment and create a new multi-use outdoor area which will be hugely beneficial to the 140 plus children who attend the school.


Siobhan added: “Originally we wanted to install a wooden gazebo and wigwams, however, due to the pandemic we’ve had to change our plans and opt for benches and planters so we can remain socially distanced and still enjoy being outside.”


Kerry Amory who works on IM Properties Social Value programme said it’s clear the Sir John Moore building is hugely important to the community.


“Our hats go off to the foundation and school for keeping this building of significant historic interest going. It’s fantastic to see the generations coming together to support each other and share in their knowledge and skills which is of huge social benefit to all involved.”


IM Properties is committed to delivering sustainable development across its business. Working in partnership with its occupiers and supply chain it aims to create jobs, skills and training opportunities, in addition to long-lasting social value benefits for the local community.


The next round of grants is now open for applications. For further information on the Mercia Park Community Fund visit