Holy Trinity clinches £2.6million grant to transform into ‘The Canny Space’

From left: Canny Space Development Manager Amanda Gerry, Head of Regeneration for Churches Conservation Trust  Matthew McKeague, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Safer City and Culture CounJohn Kelly, Heritage Lottery Fund North East Comittee chairman Chris Mullin and Sunderland City Council East Area Comittee Chairman Coun Ellen Ball
From left: Canny Space Development Manager Amanda Gerry, Head of Regeneration for Churches Conservation Trust Matthew McKeague, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Safer City and Culture CounJohn Kelly, Heritage Lottery Fund North East Comittee chairman Chris Mullin and Sunderland City Council East Area Comittee Chairman Coun Ellen Ball
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The vision of a new cultural centre for Sunderland moves a step closer today, with news the project is in line for a £2.6million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.

The team behind the scheme to turn the East End’s Holy Trinity church into ‘The Canny Space’ now has up to two years to submit finalised plans for the Grade 1-listed building – which once housed Sunderland’s first public library, fire station and magistrates’ court – to become a heritage, learning and performance centre. 

The money raised by the community to bring this project to life was instrumental in securing this financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Chris Mullin

The Echo revealed in August that The Churches Conservation Trust had teamed up with city partners to give the building a new life.

Trust chairman Loyd Grossman said: “This is a wonderful piece of news for The Churches Conservation Trust, Sunderland and the local community. This is one of the finest churches in the North East of England, but in real need of conservation and adaptation. We cannot wait to relaunch it as the Canny Space – and all just in time for its 300th birthday.”

Former Sunderland MP Chris Mullin, chairman of HLF North East, said: “This is one of Sunderland’s most important historic buildings. It was one of a handful built in the 18th century that were once the beating heart of the community, having served both as a town hall and as a place of worship.

“Sunderland is rightly proud of its rich, cultural heritage, and this fantastic community-led project will provide everyone with opportunity to celebrate the contribution the Church of Holy Trinity made to our growth as a city.

“The money raised by the community to bring this project to life was instrumental in securing this financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“Working together, we have created a new arts, heritage and cultural venue where people can not only learn more about our past, but also learn and develop new skills to look towards our future,” he said.