Friends of the Cotswolds Awarded National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant

The Town Council is delighted to share this press release from local charity Friends of the Cotswolds.


Friends of the Cotswolds awarded a grant of £235,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to create a range of volunteer-led projects over the next 2.5 years- Rooted in the Community: The Old Prison

NORTHLEACH – 21 October 2022 – The Friends of the Cotswolds has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £235,600 for an exciting heritage project; Rooted in the Community: The Old Prison. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on reconnecting the Old Prison in Northleach to the local community and bringing its heritage to new audiences.

The project will start in November 2022, and over the course of 2.5 years, will deliver a range of developments at the Old Prison including a Community Wellbeing Garden, an Education Programme working with local primary schools, an Oral History Project and events and exhibitions in partnership with Corinium Museum and Gloucestershire Constabulary Archives.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will enable people of all ages to engage with their local heritage and explore the roots of this important heritage site. There will be many opportunities for volunteers to get involved and learn new skills with full training provided; new roles will cover all elements of the project with something for everybody.

The Friends of the Cotswolds is an organisation that works to protect and enhance the region’s unique environment, heritage and culture. Having bought the Old Prison in 2013, the Friends have worked over the past decade to ensure it remains open to the community and will now take the site forward to connect local people with the fascinating heritage of the Old Prison.

Commenting on the award, David Rockey said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support more people to connect with the Heritage of the Old Prison.”

The total project costs run to £250,000. The Friends of the Cotswolds is incredibly grateful to local support for the project who awarded us grants totalling over £14,000 in match funding. Our thanks to:

  • Build Back Better Councillor Scheme- Gloucestershire County Council
  • Northleach Community Grant – Northleach with Eastington Town Council
  • Northleach Town Trustees
  • Northleach Youth Club and Community Trust
  • Notgrove Trust

About Friends of the Cotswolds

Friends of the Cotswolds is a small charity based in Northleach. We purchased the Old Prison from Cotswold District Council in 2013 to ensure it remained open to the public to visit and enjoy.

Our partners Relish run the café at the Old Prison, and we run the visitor attraction. The site is also home to the Cotswolds National Landscape team and community radio station Cotswolds Radio.

Away from the Old Prison, we support local apprentices through our Cotswold Craft Apprenticeship Scheme which we continue to promote with funds available for new apprentices.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund 

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.

Keep Onesiphorus in Northleach

Onesiphorus – “Onesi” to his friends – has been sponsored by local charity Friends of the Cotswolds and is one of the many hares on this year’s hare trail, running throughout the district.

His aim is to raise funds for the restoration of the Old Prison. He is due to be auctioned on 6th October at Cheltenham Racecourse with all the other hares. But, with a bit of crowd funding, we hope to keep him for the town and help raise money to finance the refurbishment of the prison at the same time. Just £1 from every resident would see us well on the way to reaching our target!

Make a donation

Keeping Onesi in Northleach is a project by district councillor Chris Hancock, who will attend the auction to place the bid with the funds raised. All monies raised by the appeal will be donated to Friends of the Cotswolds, via the auction if his bid is successful or given directly if he is not.

How will the funds be used? The immediate need is to refurbish the outer circle of the site, where the farm carts and implements are stored. This involves replacing rotten timber, protecting and repairing stonework to the external wall and repainting the timbers and fencing. The cost is expected to be £15,000. Over £6,000 has already been raised, but we hope that if Northleach can bid successfully to keep Onesiphorus we will raise another £2,500 towards that target. He can then be seen in Northleach for the rest of his natural life and help promote our town, our special buildings and our events.

So how did Onesi get his name? His namesake Onesiphorus Paul was a key social reformer in the 18th century.  He worked to significantly improve conditions for inmates with the aim of avoiding reoffending. His building-designs, of which this is one of the first and few that survive, went on to be the models for prisons all over the world. Hence, the building is of national and international importance and Grade 2* listed. It is now owned by the Friends of the Cotswolds, the charity which, together with the town, successfully campaigned to ensure that it remained a public building.

Staff Wanted @ Cotswold Lion Cafe

cotswold-lion-cafe-210The Cotswold Lion Café is looking for café staff to become part of its friendly team at the Cotswold Lion Café housed in The Old Prison, Northleach.

They said “Recently under new management, we are looking to develop our offering and build our already strong customer base. We want someone enthusiastic, positive and passionate about excellent customer service as well as great food.”

Previous customer service experience is preferred; if you do not have the experience but have a great attitude you will be considered. Hours can be very flexible; the café is open between 9.30am – 4.30pm, closed on Monday during the winter months. The role will include but not be limited to serving customers, organising stock, maintaining the overall appearance of the café and assisting with events as and when required. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to develop their customer service skills and who enjoys meeting new people daily.

Please contact Café Manager – Jess
Telephone – 01451 861563
Email –
Address – The Old Prison, Fosse Way, Northleach, GLOS, GL54 3JH

Job Vacancy: Admin Assistant, Cotswold Conservation Board

AONB_LOGOThe Cotswold Conservation Board is recruiting for a full-time administration assistant who will be based at the Old Prison in Northleach. Please see the full details attached.

They said: “This is a superb opportunity to be part of a team working to conserve and enhance the natural beauty and increase the understanding and enjoyment of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).”

The closing date is 10am on 2nd February.