Trafford Hall: Chester’s hidden gem creating national community impact

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Over the course of 250 years, Trafford Hall has watched countless stories unfold within its walls.

Hidden in a quiet corner of Chester, this remarkable place has lived many lives, from a cherished family home to a bustling factory and a joyous wedding venue.

Beyond its diverse history, Trafford Hall’s enduring legacy lies in its profound impact as a catalyst for communities, inspiring and propelling them towards positive change. It has become a beacon of empowerment, encouraging individuals and groups to come together to mobilise and drive transformative initiatives that shape the very fabric of their neighbourhoods.

This legacy began when the building was acquired by the National Communities Resource Centre (NCRC) in 1994. Charity founders, Professor Anne Power, Richard Rogers, Sir John Riddell, and Brian Able-Smith saw the potential of the building as a place to bring their vision to life. A space away from the day to day, where people from all backgrounds could come together as equals and find collaborative solutions to issues in their communities.

As one of the original trailblazers of tenant engagement, the charity’s first focus was on empowering residents to play an active role in their communities, helping them use their voices and skills to create positive change. Over the years, the scope widened, with the charity starting to deliver transformative programmes to inspire young people and provide essential support for families under pressure.

Since NCRC began its work, training has been provided for more than 40,000 residents, including young people, families, and housing staff. 2,500 community projects have been initiated or extended through the charity’s training and small grants programmes creating positive impact in communities with a social value of approximately £8m.

Despite more than 25 years of delivering measurable impact, the charity was forced to close in 2019, falling victim to cashflow problems brought on by austerity cuts to the budgets of housing agencies and charities that funded the training.

But the charity’s story reflects the resilience it inspires in others. This was not the end for them or the hall and in 2021, they opened their doors once more!

Now part of The Regenda Group, the NCRC has been able to continue its mission and retain its home at Trafford Hall, which is an essential part of their delivery model.

The YHA (Youth Hostel Association) were appointed to run the Trafford Hall site, making use of the 35 bedrooms that were previously only used to support training courses. They have welcomed more than 10,000 guests to enjoy the hall and its grounds since.

With these three partners working together the hall is thriving! Throughout the year it seamlessly cycles through high energy school residentials, peaceful family retreats and productive housing sector think tanks, each made better by the added support and connections of the partners.

So, now that the mysteries of this hidden gem have been revealed, you can be part of the positive story being written within the walls of Trafford Hall! Whether you stop by the café for some delicious coffee and cake, or you have a business or community group interested in collaboration.

NCRC welcomes everyone who believes in their mission and can support them as they help people and great ideas grow!

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community volunteers painting a wall

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