Short term project
At a glance


  • Financial management
  • Commissioning / Contracting
  • Fundraising research / Bid writing
  • Governance
  • Legal
  • Project / programme management
  • Volunteer management
  • Architecture / Surveying
  • Property management


Abingdon-on-Thames, OX14 3HZ
Mainly at home
Travel limit? Preferably within 25 miles


Either in or out of office hours Estimate of time needed:
3-7 hours / week or short term project: 15-90 hours, completed within 4 months
The set-up stage (3-4 months?) will require a substantial time commitment; thereafter time requirements will depend on how the organisation is set up.

Help us to save this heritage building and run it as a community facility for Abingdon-on-Thames.

What will you be doing?

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:

  • Commissioning professional advice and support on all aspects of the project, financial, legal, building restoration, business planning etc
  • Proposal preparation and negotiation
  • Grant applications and other fundraising – we anticipate needing 6-figure sums
  • Liaison with potential users to set up a viable package of uses
  • Setting up a new organisation, either charitable or CIC
  • Ongoing management of the project

NB existing team members will remain involved at whatever level is required.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for 2-3 people who between them have skills and experience in as many as possible of the following areas:

  • Leadership – particularly of voluntary organisations
  • Governance – ideally in the charity or not-for-profit sector
  • Fund-raising, both via grant applications and other routes
  • Business planning
  • Financial management
  • Property management
  • Building restoration/refurbishment
  • Working with voluntary and community organisations
  • Communication skills

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.

What difference will you make?

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.

What's in it for the volunteer?

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.

A few more details

There is more information about the history of old Abbey House here and about this project on the Civic Society website

  • Campaigning
  • Environment
  • Local / community
  • Museums / heritage
  • Our aims are to help make Abingdon a great place to live, work or visit; to foster civic pride and promote the civic life, heritage and environment of the town.We also work to encourage high...