The Mansfield Townscape Heritage Project has launched its new website - www.mansfieldtownscape.org.uk.
The £1.3m project, which focuses on parts of Leeming Street and the Market Place conservation area, has benefited from £849,100 of money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, raised by National Lottery players.
Mansfield District Council is leading the scheme and it is being delivered in partnership with Mansfield BID, Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Nottinghamshire County Council.
Over five years, it will be helping local businesses and property owners in this area carry out property repairs and refurbishments to enhance the architectural quality of the Victorian and Georgian buildings.
Property owners are able to apply for match-funded grants of up to 75% to help with the cost of making improvements that are in sympathy with their heritage.
As well as repairing buildings and conservation work, it will also see a five-year programme of community engagement, and educational events for the town.
Work experience opportunities for students will be available for volunteers to learn about conservation and restoration skills as well as opportunities to be involved in film, story-telling, street theatre, art and photography activities, celebrating efforts to return one of Mansfield's most elegant shopping streets to its former glory.
As part of this programme, there is currently a children’s art competition running with a top prize worth £100.
Children up to 16 are being asked to draw or paint what some of the buildings could look like once they get a revamp. The winner will get a £100 go-cart donated by Smyth’s Toys as the top prize or £100 to spend in store. Photos of their entries have to be uploaded on the Project website (link to competition page on Project website opens in new window) by midnight on 28 August.
The townscape project is part of a wider vision by the council to improve the appearance and vibrancy of the town centre and to put Mansfield on the map as a good place in which to live, work, invest in and visit. It also aims to help build a sense of pride among local people for their home town.
The long-term strategy is to try to support Mansfield in meeting the challenges of the changing face of the high streets - a phenomenon happening across Britain - by encouraging more independent retailers and making the centre as much a place for socialising, entertainment and living in, as it is a place for shopping.
Cllr Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, said: "The website is effectively a working document to record this five-year project to refurbish the properties that make up the Mansfield Townscape Heritage Project area, and provide an archive of each building’s unique story.
"It’s a working document because through the project’s community participation programme, and with the help of the local community, we will be continuously adding new information and insights into the history of Mansfield’s townscape.
"We very much hope local people will get involved and contribute to this interesting and educational project. Mansfield has some real architectural gems and we want everyone to know that and value the town centre's history."
Visitors to the website can, for instance, add comments about anything on the website by clicking on the ‘Add a comment’ link at the bottom of each page. They can also submit their own photos, stories or information to the site.
To find out more and get involved, visit the Project website (link to the website opens in new window).