A historic house in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is celebrating success after scooping a prestigious environmental and community award, the Biffa Awards 2013.
The National Trust was today named as winner of the ‘Cultural Facilities’ category for their ‘Ickworth's Real Lives - The Servants’ Hall’ project at Ickworth House in Bury St Edmunds.
Competing against cultural facilities from across the UK, the Trust received £2,000 in prize money, which they can use to further develop their project. Their thorough restoration and imaginative approach to interpretation impressed the independent Biffa Award judge and saw them edge ahead of their competitors.
Administered by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, Biffa Award awards grants to environmental and community projects, using landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Group Ltd. Each year, the people transforming their communities and improving the environment through Biffa Award projects are recognised at the Biffa Awards ceremony. This year more than 240 recently completed projects competed to win a prize in one of five categories – Recreation, Cultural Facilities, Community Buildings, Small Grants, and Rebuilding Biodiversity.
Based within the historic Ickworth House in Bury St Edmunds, the National Trust has realised its ambition to open up the previously undisturbed Servants’ Hall and present the rooms as they were in the 1930s. Development funded by Biffa Award included the restoration of the Servants’ Hall and installation of audiovisual equipment and interactive interpretation to create an activity hub for visitors and local schools.
The development of the Servants’ Hall is part of the wider Ickworth’s Real Lives project, which calls on the Ickworth Archives as well as the memories of those who used to work ‘below stairs’ to build up a picture of the building’s rich cultural history. Living History volunteers breathe life into the stories and create an immersive experience for visitors. Indeed the project recently received recognition through the National Trust Chairman’s Award for ‘Bringing Places to Life’.
This year’s Awards were held today at the ThinkTank Birmingham Science Museum. The theme for the Awards was ‘Stronger Together, and sought to celebrate the people behind the projects that are helping to build and rebuild their local communities in these difficult economic times.
Gillian French, Biffa Award Programme Manager, said:
“The Biffa Awards are a unique opportunity to celebrate and reward the dedicated people who are delivering some of the excellent projects we have funded. All of our projects deserve recognition for the work they do, but we are delighted for the National Trust on their success at this year’s Awards. Their inspirational work at Ickworth House is not only safeguarding this rich cultural history, but it has really involved the local community – inspiring volunteers as well as creating a fantastic experience for visitors.”