A SCHEME to regenerate a prominent dilapidated building in the centre of Penzance has reached a landmark moment. 

The Gardeners’ House has appointed local heritage building contractor Jewell Construction Limited to undertake their major restoration project at their site in Morrab Gardens.  

The charity received £2.2-million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as a grant of £896,000 from the Penzance Town Deal fund to help realise their vision. 

The project aims to celebrate the natural environment as well as keeping a record of the horticulture and botany of West Cornwall stretching back for many years. 

The Gardeners’ House will become an important centre for the community, connecting people, planet and place, helping to improve mental and physical wellbeing. The renovated building will become a home to wellbeing workshops, green community projects and a sensory garden. 

The team plans to create a welcoming and calm space to support the local community, especially those from disadvantaged situations - using the heritage of Cornwall’s natural environment past and present, to inspire people and support their wellbeing. 

The project will also create a home for a unique archive of documents, books and illustrations. The ‘living archive’ collection will be made accessible to the public for the first time and highlight the history of Cornwall’s natural heritage.  Donated by the Hypatia Trust, the ‘living archive’ showcases the achievements and stories from the last 200 years of the men and women connected to West Cornwall’s natural heritage. 

Its new home will mean that the important collection is safeguarded and preserved in Penzance so that the community, researchers and visitors can learn and be inspired by it.  

The Gardeners’ House renovation will additionally include a community art project led by artists Jane Darke and Andrew Tebbs, working with the community to create designs inspired by illustrations and objects from the archive. Local craftspeople will then be commissioned to recreate these designs in stone, metal and wood that will feature in the Sensory Garden. 

The Sensory Garden, made possible by generous funding from the Tanner Phoenix Trust, will be created between the Gardeners’ House and Pengarth Day Centre. 

It will give a tranquil safe space where people can reconnect with nature and hopes to enhance the lives of older people, particularly those living with dementia. 

The project will work in partnership with local community groups and organisations, including Sustainable Penzance, Earth’s Green Guardians, Hypatia Trust and Pengarth Day Centre. 

Miki Ashton, the project coordinator for The Gardeners’ House, said: “We are thrilled to announce that Jewell has joined our team at the Gardeners’ House. 

“Their expertise and sensitivity in heritage restoration were precisely what we sought during the contracting process. 

“This project is a difficult one, with limited access and existing structures to consider, requiring both care and attention. 

“Jewell’s willingness and previous experience in engaging with local communities and residents in the area where they work were key factors in our decision to bring them on board. We are excited to have them on our team.” 

Martin Tucker, the chairman of the Penzance Town Deal Board, said: “This is a key milestone for the project and the overall Town Deal programme in Penzance. With work starting on the Gardener’s House, we are starting to see the concrete benefits of the Town Deal investment in the town. 

“This funding is supporting local companies, bringing new life to dilapidated community assets, and helping local organisations grow and flourish. 

“The board is excited to see the vision for the building come to life and is looking forward to seeing the creation of a unique resource centre for Penzance and Cornwall.”