Our restoration and regeneration project at Hay Castle has been awarded £4.46m by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The scheme will restore and conserve the critically at-risk medieval keep and the mansion; restore and open the ancient gate - the oldest of its kind in the UK; reinstate the vital connection between the castle and the town; and create a culturally and economically vibrant centre for the arts and training.
A museum-standard gallery will host touring exhibitions from major collections, a platform high in the castle keep will create a memorable visitor experience of this ancient monument, and a characterful learning space will engage young and old. The project will create new jobs and support the regional economy. Hay Castle will be a major heritage destination, with free access for everyone.
The project will require specialist conservation throughout to ensure the long-term survival of the important structures. Large cracks in the archway above the famous gates are widening. The fabric of the buildings has been weakened by exposure, neglect and fires.
Nancy Lavin Albert, managing director of Hay Castle, said, "We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund which does crucial work saving irreplaceable buildings across the UK. We are extremely grateful to all our supporters for their generous donations to this ambitious project. The Trust's aspiration is to create an inspiring place for people to enjoy their heritage and the arts, learn new skills and participate in cultural and community events."
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, Richard Bellamy, explains why supporting this project is so important: "While an incredibly ambitious piece of work, there is so much more to this than simply restoring and preserving a significant piece of Welsh history - it's also about ensuring Hay Castle continues to be a meaningful place for people today."
"With the support of National Lottery players, there is a great opportunity here to make the castle accessible to all, enabling people to learn about their heritage, while at the same time providing a welcome economic boost with new jobs being created and an improved tourism offer."
In addition to the award of £4.46million by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Trust has also raised over £1million with the help of its supporters. However, £900,000 still needs to be raised by the end of this year in order for work to begin on site in 2017.
Elizabeth Haycox, chair of the Hay Castle Trust, added, "Hay Castle is currently in a critical state of disrepair so this announcement today is great news for the town, both culturally and economically. In addition to seasonal tourism attractions, the Trust is developing a year round programme of activities focusing on literature and Hay's unique position as a Book Town."
When the project is complete, Hay Castle will be open to the public for the first time in its 800-year history.