Castle in the Community, as a lobby group, campaigned for over 30 years for the renovation of Hylton Castle. Due to the dedication of these local people championing the cause of Hylton Castle on behalf of their community, support and funding was enlisted from key heritage stakeholders such as The Lottery Heritage Fund, English Heritage, Sunderland City Council and Historic England. Hylton Castle Trust now oversees the operation and development of the Castle.
Built over three floors, the gatehouse now accommodates learning spaces, a tearoom, exhibitions and flexible community spaces for meetings and events, to act as a heritage hub at the heart of the local community.
Hylton Castle Trust seeks to engage local residents and schools to build a broad sense of community ownership and pride in Hylton Castle with future generations. The Trust is an independent registered charity, seeking to engage young people with opportunities to develop skills and work experience, learn about local heritage and to take part in governance, decision making and planning.
The Castle renovations include:
· Three floors inserted within the existing structure with access to the roof
· New stairs and a lift
· Spaces to house a broad range of events and activities
· A ground-floor tearoom
· Interpretation telling the history and heritage of the Castle, Dene and wider city
· Learning spaces for use by schools, colleges, universities, and the community
As an educational, community and visitor attraction Hylton Castle enables current and future generations to discover the fascinating stories and rich heritage of Sunderland whilst providing opportunities for volunteering and training.