A group working to preserve Pontefract’s historic dispensary and hermitage have received a funding boost.
The Pontefract Heritage Partnership has been awarded a £38,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help them in their drive to take over the building and bring it back into use for the local community.
The money will be used to kickstart a fundraising campaign for the project and will also support the planned transfer of the building from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Group leader Dr Colin White, a retired consultant physician at Pontefract General Infirmary, said: “The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund is invaluable; not only will it help us to kick start our fundraising, but it will also help us to seek the expertise that we need to save our dispensary and hermitage.
“We have a tough, yet achievable challenge ahead and we want local people to join us in protecting, preserving and developing these significant parts of the town’s heritage.
“Together the dispensary and hermitage represent over 750 years of care for the people of Pontefract and it is now time for us to give it the care and attention it needs and importantly deserves.”
The Grade I-listed building, on Southgate, dates back to the 1300s. Medieval hermits cultivated liquorice and drank holy water from an underground well at the site, which later became the town’s first health centre and community-owned hospital in the 1880s.