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Fri 21st April 2017
Largest ever funding award of £150,000 for Thirlestane Castle, Lauder

Thirlestane Castle in Lauder has received the largest ever funding award from LEADER in the Scottish Borders of £150,000. Thirlestane Castle Trust applied for the fund to conserve and promote the heritage associated with the 16th century Castle, its contents and its grounds.

The match funding will be used to improve events and catering options at the visitor attraction to help provide a more sustainable future for the Castle. This will include creating a new events space in the old kitchen, an upstairs servery so the State Dining Room can be used more easily for functions, recobbling of the courtyard to provide better access and an additional events space, and creating a new 2-bedroom self-catering apartment.

After a large outbreak of dry rot was discovered in the Castle in 2012, the building had to be closed to the public for a considerable time while the outbreak was treated. This allowed trustees to take a step back and consider the direction they wanted to take the Castle but also left many rooms in need of further restoration. It was agreed that the Castle needed to diversify in order to continue to be financially viable for many generations to come. The LEADER funding will enable the first stage of these plans to be carried out.

It is hoped that Thirlestane Castle will become a ‘Gateway to the Borders’ for people travelling from Edinburgh and will provide much needed accommodation, events space and corporate facilities.

Work in the old kitchen has already begun and is expected to be complete in June when it will be used as an additional dining area for coach parties. Work on the other areas is set to start soon after with completion expected by the autumn.

A full programme of events has been organised for this summer and the Castle opens to visitors every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday between 2nd May and 1st October.