Tag Archives: #featured

New Chair of Trustees sought

Following a very successful first five years, the Trust is seeking a new Chair of Trustees to take us forward into the next phase of our development. This is an exciting opportunity to work with our established trustees and volunteers and lead the Trust towards the fulfilment of its mission. Below, out-going Chair Gemma O’Shea explains how she has enjoyed the role, highlighting the progress made and the future plans to be taken on by the next Chair of Trustees.

Gemma O’Shea outside Landbeach tithe barn

Nearly lost

Back in the 2010s, Landbeach tithe barn was a beautiful but decaying relic; a testament to Landbeach’s long history but also an asset in real danger of disappearing, lost for forever.

Fortunately, in 2014 a determined group of local residents wanted to avoid such a fate befalling this unique structure. As a result, the Tithe Barn Trust was created as a registered charity in 2016 with the mission:

“Ensuring the long-term survival of the rare and ancient Tithe Barn, by breathing new life into the site, for everyone to enjoy.”

I was honoured to take the helm as the Chair of Trustees and have greatly enjoyed this sometimes demanding role. It has given me so much satisfaction and a real sense of achievement working alongside our dedicated group of fellow trustees, volunteers and supporters. Over this period we have successfully fundraised to undertake the extensive repairs necessary to save the physical structure, taking it from this:

to this:

For me a particular highlight came in Autumn 2019 to early 2020 with the repair of the barn’s timber frame, brick plinth, floor and the re-thatching of the roof. These costly measures have saved the barn from collapse and made it weathertight for the first time in many years.

Re-thatching the barn in early 2020

Through the efforts of the Trust and its volunteers, we offer free entry to Tithe Barn open days, events and diverse educational activities for all ages. Access is open to everyone. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of others and with their help we’ve trialled and hosted varied community events from theatre, storytelling, to art exhibitions, a country market, preschool visits, heritage days and more. We’ve shown what an intimate and unique space the Tithe Barn is for bringing people together.

‘Oracle’ Art installation by artist Theo Gayer-Anderson at the Barn

Country Market

Our next steps

We are now focused on the second phase of our project, that of fundraising to bring essential services to the site. Great progress has already been made through our successful ‘Spend a Penny’ fundraising campaign. The money raised is enabling the installation of two eco-friendly toilets later this Spring, before we turn our attention to the provision of the water and electricity services. These will really help to secure the barn’s long-term future through its increased use as a community space and venue hire.

We have come a long way since 2014 and none of this would have been possible without the dedication of our trustees, volunteers and supporters. I have genuinely enjoyed my time as Chair and it has been a great privilege to work with a such a committed group. I wish the Trust and all who support it every success for the future and look forward to returning as a visitor with my family to see future progress.

To find out more about this great leadership opportunity, go to https://reachvolunteering.org.uk/opp/chair-trustees-290

Outdoor Gym – 19th February

This Saturday 19th February 9am till 12 noon, you can get active and involved by helping us tidy the hedge and meadow strip to the Tithe Barn.

We’ll be undertaking some vegetation management of hedges and brambles, plus planting wild flowers and native climbers. The session will be led by our very own Landscape Architect and Horticulturalist. Wear sturdy shoes, gloves and warm clothing. Bring your own secateurs and shrub cutters and there will be a few provided. Don’t forget to bring your own drink and snack for break too. No need to pre-book, just come along.

The unique medieval timber frame Tithe Barn will be open for those who would like to take a peek too.

Spend A Penny campaign hits its target

We’ve done it! A year after its launch the ‘Spend a Penny’ campaign has reached its £30,000 target – thanks to the Postcode Places Trust, a major anonymous personal gift and donations of all sizes from many other local supporters.

‘Spend a Penny’ will enable the installation of two eco-friendly ‘Kazubaloos’ for use by all those visiting or using Landbeach tithe barn, greatly enhancing its value as a local community asset. A great fundraising effort has been capped off by a generous £17,819 grant by the Postcode Places Trust that will enable these loos and also cycle racks to be put into place.

Gemma O’Shea, Tithe Barn Trust chair commented: ‘It is thrilling that we have reached our target and our greatest thanks go to all who have contributed. We are especially pleased that the Postcode Places Trust has recognised the added community value that these loos and cycle racks will bring via the tithe barn to Landbeach and our surrounding communities.’

A BIG thank you to the Postcode Places Trust

The rest of the funding came from donations from the general public via our TotalGiving page so we’d also very much like to thank all 66 donors, one of whom donated a massive £10,000. We couldn’t have done it without you all. 

Also many thanks to our team of fantastic volunteers for all their work and great local publicity by local media outlets, including BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Cambridge 105 FM, Cambridge News, and Cambridge Independent.

We very much hope that our new loos will be in place by May 2022 so watch this space for news of events next summer that will celebrate this major step forward and capitalise on these enhanced facilities.

The future is bright

Our team of skilled craftsmen have been working hard over the last five months to repair and rescue the unique Grade II listed Tithe Barn, in Landbeach. Less than a year ago the Tithe Barn’s future was uncertain and if the funds weren’t raised the historic timber frame building was in danger of collapsing and being lost forever. The Tithe Barn’s leaking roof was covered in a tarpaulin and it was in real need of some TLC.

We are over the moon that the repairs are now complete. Thanks to our thatcher Jeff Helme and his team the roof has been rethatched, keeping as much of the historic fabric as possible, and now looks fabulous. Our team of carpenters and brick layers from F.A. Valiant & Son, building restoration specialists, have worked tirelessly. The final sympathetic repairs have now been undertaken to the doors and brick threshing floor.

Gemma O’Shea, Chair of Trustees of the Tithe Barn Trust says “Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support from the wonderful public, as well as the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Amey Community Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the October Fund. We are truly grateful and can’t wait for everyone to see the finished result at our next events.”

We are holding new events at the Tithe Barn this year, all made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. On Saturday 28th March 9.30am-12.30 ‘Histon Country pop-up market’ will have handmade food and gifts on offer by local producers, at the Tithe Barn. Then on Saturday 4th April 11am-4pm we’ll be holding our first ever Art Exhibition at the Barn. Local artist Maureen Mace will be exhibiting alongside local artists from the Cambridge Drawing Society and Rowan, a Cambridge based charity and arts centre for adults with learning disabilities. Entry to these events is free. Visit https://tithebarntrust.org.uk/learning/2020-events/ and pencil the dates in your diary for all our events this year.