The Dronfield Heritage Trust is a buildings preservation charity, formed in 2007 to take on the challenge of rescuing and re-developing historic Dronfield Hall Barn into a high specification heritage, arts and natural history centre for Dronfield and District, the barn was gifted to the Peel Centre in 2004 by Sainsbury Supermarkets on condition that it be developed for the benefit of the town’s citizens.
Challenge is a very apt word because as the years rolled by the trustees began to recognise the enormous task ahead of re-configuring a Grade II* barn for public access, satisfying English Heritage and raising the £1m construction cost. However, undaunted, they raised money from generous local donors and the Architectural Heritage Fund so that in January 2012 the complex bid processes of The Heritage Lottery Fund and other national funders could be pursued.
Buoyed up by 300 letters of support and 280 new recruits into The Friends of Dronfield Hall Barn, the small team of volunteers were rewarded in 2014 by grants of £1,034,800 from The Heritage Lottery Fund and £131,000 from Viridor Credits. However it was the donations from generous private individuals across the town which tipped the fund over the £1.3m mark and enabled a start on the construction work in January 2015. The contract was awarded to Wm Birch and Sons of York who completed the build in February 2016.
Longer term, the Trust envisages becoming the central information point for Dronfield and the surrounding district, promoting the conservation of the area, with the barn as a hub of exciting and innovative activity.