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Charity to restore historic Yeadon barn to boost life-changing work
A 16th century barn, reputed to be the scene of an historic meeting between Oliver Cromwell and Lord Fairfax, is set for a new lease of life with a £1.4m refurbishment.
And the barn, next to Leeds Bradford Airport, will become a new shop and restaurant for a charity which makes a difference to the lives of disadvantaged people who have slipped off the radar of the local authority support networks.
A staff of 60 – supplemented by a 150-strong army of volunteers – work for Caring For Life and have helped about 3,500 vulnerable people make a fresh start in life over 25 years.
But, while the economic downturn has increased the Christian charity’s caseload, it has also highlighted the need for new revenue streams – and the ancient barn is set to become a new cafe and shop to open in late October.
Currently, the charity, based at Crag House Farm, on the outskirts of Yeadon, runs a cafe and shop, called The Granary, which exceeded expectations and has become a successful social enterprise.
Serving the farm’s own beef, lamb and sausages, freshly-baked bread, home-made cakes, preserves and home-grown salad leaves, The Granary has ensured a steady income stream for the charity, inspiring plans for a larger operation in the barn next door.
The Grade II-listed building is now undergoing a £1.44m transformation and will become the home of a new shop and restaurant in the autumn.
As well as being the meeting place of Cromwell and Lord Fairfax, the barn has also survived an aeroplane wheel crashing through its roof.
Caring For Life co-founder and former Baptist minister Peter Parkinson said: “Some of these people here have known no real love or affection in their lives before, so that’s what we try to give them.”
Harrogate-based Townscape Architects will be working on the refurbishment project, and Nick Silcock, from the the firm, said it is a project with a difference.
“We were thrilled to win the commission to resurrect a building which has had such a chequered past,” he said. “The magnificent ancient oak frame dates back as far as 1522, but we are delighted to see so much of the original wood is being retained and repaired during the restoration.
“By bringing the old barn back into full use, the charity will preserve the oak frame for posterity. It’ll become home to a new cafe and shop, kitchen, bakery and reception area which Caring For Life hopes will attract even more visitors to Crag House Farm.”