Help us to save this heritage building and run it as a community facility for Abingdon-on-Thames.
Old Abbey House is a late 18th century building in the Abingdon Town Centre Conservation Area. It backs on to the beautiful Abbey Gardens which were formerly the site of Abingdon Abbey. Its owners, the Vale of White Horse District Council, have put it on the market, but are willing to consider a viable community bid.
There is widespread public support for it to be brought back into community use and a number of realistic proposals for such use.
The Civic Society has been campaigning for it for several years: we have done and are continuing to do extensive groundwork for a community bid, but we are not able to take on long-term responsibility for the Building. We are therefore looking for a leader and 1-2 others to initially work with us on the proposal and set up a suitable vehicle for the future ownership and management of the building.
The project is closely linked to wider plans to revitalise the town centre, in particular via heritage-led regeneration.
Specific tasks will include:
NB existing team members will remain involved at whatever level is required.
We are looking for 2-3 people who between them have skills and experience in as many as possible of the following areas:
Ideally you will know Abingdon and be passionate about regenerating our beautiful and historic town, although that is mainly important for those in external-facing roles.
Experience of a similar project elsewhere would of course be invaluable, but is not essential as we already have access to sources of advice on the heritage regeneration aspects.
Old Abbey House is a very attractive building in a beautiful setting. Originally a “gentleman’s residence” it was bought by the then Borough Corporation in 1923 because “on the aesthetic side the town would be acquiring a historical site that ought to be in public hands” and there is very widespread feeling in the town that it should remain in public ownership and be brought back into community use.
The Civic Society is a small organisation with a wide-ranging remit: we have worked to create the opportunity for a community bid and have assembled a number of realistic proposals for its use and offers of help in delivering them. We will continue to support and be involved with the project, but do not currently have the resources to carry it forward in the longer term. The new team will enable that bid to go ahead and if successful will create a wonderful facility for the town which will play a vital role in its regeneration.
This is an opportunity to join an established and friendly team who are passionate about this project and want to help it move successfully to its next phase. The project has clear goals, both short term and long term, and is seen as very important by the community so offers the opportunity for an enormous sense of achievement.