Volunteers face up to mill funding shortfall

Heckington Windmill. EMN-150114-100156001

Heckington Windmill. EMN-150114-100156001

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Volunteers behind a £1.2m project to develop Heckington Windmill into a leading heritage attraction have learnt they are still short of the cash needed to complete the work.

Chairman of the Friends of Heckington Windmill Charles Pinchbeck has admitted that the effects of inflation on the building costs has left the volunteers with a 10 per cent shortfall on what is 
needed.

This is despite the Heritage Lottery Fund’s £990,200 grant backing in 2012,

He said: “We are looking at what we can do to reduce the costs through voluntary work and whether there are other national grant-awarding bodies that might be able to help complete the project.”

Mr Pinchbeck added: “Given the state of the economy, we are surprised how much building prices have been going up recently.”

Alongside the Heritage Lottery Fund, project partners already include Lincolnshire County Council, North Kesteven District Council, Heckington Parish Council, The Bicker Trust, The Charles Hayward Trust and many private donors and volunteers.

A repair and restoration programme will involve the entire Victorian mill complex with exhibition space, a shop and toilets.

The ‘field to fork’ concept will be explored from grinding in the mill, via baking in the bakehouse to eating and enjoying in the cafe.

The site has already been bought last year. The next step is the restoration and conversion work of the buildings, meaning the fitting out as a visitor centre cannot go ahead until the building work can be funded.

Mr Pinchbeck expected to be able to resolve this within the next six to nine months, meaning they would 
still be on target to finish in 2016.

He said: “We may be a little later than first thought but there are things we can do in the meantime. The old roof over the granary has been taken down and there is quite a bit of stripping out and modern alterations to be done over the next few months.”

Anyone interested in helping should visit the mill’s website: www.heckingtonwindmill.org.uk.

Mr Pinchbeck said: “We were a bit disappointed at the news at first but over all it is an exciting first season for five years to have a working windmill on our own site where we can just get on with things now.”

They also plan to fully launch their first beer using barley ground by the mill with Eight Sail Brewery which shares the site.

An old oil engine has also been sourced and will be installed this year to drive the grinding stones on windless days, while the volunteers hope to be making bread for the cafe from their own flour.