Students of traditional skills such as stonemasonry and carpentry can now apply to a council for help with course fees, thanks to a lottery-funded heritage project.
The five £500 bursaries are being offered by Wellingborough Council as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), a project supported by £1.4 million of lottery money that aims to protect the town’s history and heritage.
To ensure the necessary skills exist to maintain Wellingborough’s historic buildings in the future, the council has teamed up with Moulton College to offer help with course fees and encourage people who are struggling to get access to training.
Five £100 vouchers to help with the cost of specialist tools and equipment are also available for students.
To qualify for the bursaries and vouchers, students must be enrolled on either carpentry or stone masonry courses at Moulton College and must have completed at least one term of the course with a minimum of 80 per cent attendance.
They must also show an association with the borough and, as the bursaries are aimed at people not able to get standard government funding, they will need to be over 19.
This is the first year the help with course fees and equipment is being offered, but the council hopes to give out similar awards over the next five years.
Specialist training days and apprenticeships are also planned, which will again be run through Moulton College.
The college is one of only five in the country to offer such a high level of heritage conservation and traditional techniques in their courses.
Cllr Tim Allebone, chairman of the council’s development committee, said: “We have many beautiful and historically important buildings in our town centre and the THI project is helping to restore them and protect them for future generations to enjoy.
“We want these restorations to take place using period materials and traditional methods, so we need to make sure we have the skills locally to do that.
“The bursaries will make a real difference in maintaining those skills, as well as increasing learning opportunities for people in the borough.”
Neil Dellar the head of faculty of construction at Moulton College said: “The THI project provides a legacy of local skills for local jobs which preserves the natural fabrics of these historically important buildings.
“The bursaries are an excellent opportunity to showcase the skills and knowledge of heritage buildings of Moulton College’s students.
“Moulton College is proud to be associated with the THI project.”
Anyone interested in applying for a bursary should go to www.wellingborough.gov.uk/thibursary or call 01933 231659 or 231918.
Other schemes being funded by the lottery-backed THI include grants to help repair key buildings, funding for shop owners to restore their traditional shop fronts, as well as money to establish and promote the town’s heritage trail.
The five-year project started when the council was awarded £1.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in March 2012.