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Historic library restoration to begin as £3.9m grant is secured

A 12-month restoration of Liverpool’s historic former Andrew Carnegie Library will begin in the coming weeks thanks to a funding boost.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded a £3.9 million grant, paving the way for specialist contractor HH Smith & Sons Ltd to undertake the project.

The Grade II-listed building on Lister Drive in Tuebrook is owned by Liverpool City Council, which is also contributing £500,000 to the scheme, and was vacant for six years until 2012 when community-based charity Lister Steps was selected to take on the building and develop its service.

Work is scheduled to start on 1 April and, on completion, childcare and family support provider Lister Steps will then move its services into the building on a long lease from the council.

The new facility, which is expected to generate six new jobs and training opportunities, will also feature a licensed café, an events space, a healthy food takeaway, a co-working space and facilities to help local people socialise, learn new skills and hobbies.

In addition community outreach and training opportunities will be delivered, including a programme of education, training and volunteering activities facilitated by the Museum of Liverpool.

Working in partnership with Liverpool City Council, Lister Steps has appointed architects OMI to oversee the restoration of the site, which is due to reach completion by April 2020.

Gaynor Williams, CEO at Lister Steps, says: “We are delighted that work can finally start restoring this important part of our local heritage and bringing to life our plans and aspirations. We are looking forward to the long lasting benefits and opportunities it will offer our community and we’d like to thank National Lottery players and the city council for their ongoing support.”

Nathan Lee, head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund North West, adds: “The Lister Steps project is a fantastic example of local heritage-led regeneration and shows how new ideas can be used to bring historic buildings back to the heart of the local community.

“This project will provide the library with a sustainable long-term future helping to boost the local economy, provide jobs and training for local people and act as a catalyst for wider regeneration in the area.”