A £100,000 appeal has been launched to raise funds to save one of our area’s most iconic, imposing buildings, the Ansdell Institute. The roof of the building, originally constructed in 1909, is in need of immediate restoration – and, as a consequence of roof’s disrepair, the interior of the century- old Institute has been severely affected by water damage. A fund raising platform, ‘The Friends of Ansdell Institute’, has been formed and is being supported by Ansdell councillors Ben Aitken, Richard Redcliffe and Chris Dixon.
Over a hundred years ago, the original plans for he Ansdell Institute depict a single-storey public hall with a two and three-storey building attached, containing a committee room, billiard room, reading room, library, and classrooms among other facilities. The main hall had an oak-sprung floor and a platform stage at one end. A hundred years ago, it was the focal point of the village.
Alan Roe, honorary secretary of the Institute, said, ‘We must act now to save this iconic building. It cost £4,500 to build in 1909, one of the largest pieces of private largesse in England at the time when the Institute was handed to the people of Ansdell. It has been the focus of the whole village since then but unfortunately, for many years, has been run as a private club. Circumstances have changed and large parts of the building have been revamped. We now have three businesses operating out of here – the social club, a community meeting room and a coffee bar set to open, all of which will help fund improvements the building desperately needs.’
Ansdell Councillor Ben Aitken said: ‘While every effort is being made to get more people to use the building, it is more clear than ever that we need to carry out a full survey to ascertain exactly how much money we need to stop it falling into further disrepair. Alan has worked wonders bringing in new businesses and community facilities but we must repair the roof and the water ingress as soon as possible – or we will face huge issues throughout the building. We have launched the Friends group and, once Covid restrictions allow, will hold an open day and events to get the community as involved as possible with a scheme to save this beautiful building. We want to save the building for the next generations and make sure it is there for the next 100 years. We will need volunteers to help with the Friends group and people can find us on Facebook and, hopefully soon, at our open day.’