Historic building has served the town

Members of a new action group set up to protect the Old Dispensary and hermitage at Pontefract Hospital
Members of a new action group set up to protect the Old Dispensary and hermitage at Pontefract Hospital

A community group working to reclaim Pontefract Dispensary and Hermitage for the town has received a £9,500 grant boost.

Pontefract Dispensary and Hermitage Action Group (PDHAG) has been given the money by the Social Investment Business Group , which will allow the group to become a limited company and registered charity.

It will also allow the group to produce a business plan for the building, on Southgate, which is currently owned by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The building closed in January 2011, when the new Pontefract Hospital opened.

Colin White, chairman of the group, said: “It’s a step forward. The idea behind the grant is to allow community groups such as ourselves to get the right knowledge and skills to take on a project like this.”

The group hopes to acquire the building from the trust, which is willing to hand it back to the community.

PDHAG will then run it as a community building with the help of volunteers.

Dr White added: “The dispensary was built with public subscriptions in 1880 and rightly became part of the NHS, but now it is surplus to requirements it needs to be given back to the community.”

PDHAG will set up a board of trustees, and will look for more volunteers to help run the dispensary as a going concern.

Dr White said: “It’s all about engaging with local people and getting them involved, because at the end of the day if this venture is going to work it needs support and involvement from the community.”

PDHAG is holding a meeting to update townspeople about the latest stage of its work at Central Methodist Church activities room, Newgate, Pontefract on Thursday November 28 at 7pm.

Visit www.pontefractdispensaryhermitageactiongroup.btck.co.uk for more information.