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Halifax Estates have worked closely with local farmers, Natural England and East Riding of Yorkshire Council to renovate a former Methodist Chapel and schoolroom into an educational facility. Natural England has provided grant assistance under the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Scheme to the Estate to convert the building into an Education Centre including a classroom, toilets and washing facilities.

HLS is a targeted and competitive scheme that is only available to farmers and land managers in particular areas of the country or with particular high priority features on their holding.

The Estate currently has its own Higher Level Stewardship scheme as do a number of the neighbouring farmers, two of which currently host educational visits. Natural England will continue to provide financial assistance towards the use of the building for education for the duration of the ten year agreement.

The building is of significant local importance with the first known reference to children being educated there being in 1817, when the schoolmaster was paid £15 for eighteen months work. The building continued to be used variously as a school and chapel until 23 June 1974 when a dwindling congregation and reorganisation of the local Methodist Chapel circuit forced its closure.

Uncleby Chapel had been empty since that time (apart from a brief spell as a store for vintage tractors) and although basic maintenance had been carried out by the Estate, it was in a state of disrepair. The chapel’s convenient location within a stunning landscape, the majority of which is in the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, led to the decision by the Estate to pursue the conversion to an Education Centre. East Riding of Yorkshire Council have been involved at various stages of the process, not least planning and building control along with guidance and licensing to protect the resident and neighbouring wildlife.

Uncleby Education Centre will be available to both primary and secondary school groups completely free of charge. It will provide an excellent base from which to utilise the abundant learning opportunities provided by the two adjacent farms, focused on the requirements of the individual visiting school. This might be wildlife (including bug hunting!) and agriculture for primary school children or possibly art, creative writing and physical geography for secondary pupils.

There will be a charge for non-school uses (rates to be determined) but there is no doubt that the location of the Education Centre will provide inspiration for a variety of art and craft courses. It would also be available for any meetings or seminars for up to 50 people, as it will have a fully equipped kitchen and toilet facilities, as well as an external paved veranda area, from which to enjoy the spectacular views over the Vale of York.

The Centre is open and located 15 miles east of York and 7 miles north of Pocklington, close to Garrowby Hill.

For further details and bookings contact|:

For school visits - Elaine Wray 01759 368212

Non-school uses – Halifax Estates 01759 368219

May 7 2013