The Old Girls’ School has been around since the late 1870’s where it previously taught junior girls and infants within the local village. However, in 1978, the school shut its doors due to the opening of rival schools which offered pupils a more modern learning environment. Due to the increase of pupils and The Old Girls’ School not being adequate enough to cater to the demand, the building stood derelict for a number of years.
The school was going to be sold by the North Yorkshire County Council for new developments, and as a result, numerous residents came together to help save The Old Girls’ School by signing a petition to ensure the building stayed. Over 2,000 residents signed the petition which saw the petition pass and The Old Girls’ School Committee (The Friends of The Old Girls’ School) was formed with the aim to turn the building into a Community Centre for the village.
The need for increased facilities was identified by the community as a key priority, and the Community Centre was the proposed way to meet this need. Numerous respondents cited the importance of The Old Girls’ School as one of the only remaining heritage buildings in Sherburn, and its potential to be a focal point to foster a sense of community.
The committee has been very successful in applying for grants such as £223,210 from the Big Lotteries Fund where £95,000 was given to help refurbish the building, £12,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help Scheme and various funding from local businesses such as British Gypsum who recently donated £5,000 towards the installation of new windows and doors.
This week, refurbishment works have started on the school with the installation of new windows throughout the building. The work is looking to be completed by the end of 2017, and further refurbishment works will resume on the building in the new year. The opening of The Old Girls’ School will see two new main rooms which will be used for exercise or activity classes as well as a community cinema. These spaces will also be available to rent out for occasions such as children’s parties.
In addition to the above, there will also be an IT media suite which will be located behind the new tearoom with Wi-Fi and computer access for those wishing to undertake training or networking. Two additional rooms will also be available to book for meetings and consultations with ample parking spaces around the back of the school.
Anyone wishing to join the Friends of The Old Girls’ School Committee, can assist with the refurbishment or volunteer to help once the OGS is open please contact Allyson Chambers at firstname.lastname@example.org.