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canny spcae The Canny Space

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A very Canny Space

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The Canny Space is an ambitious project to conserve and regenerate Holy Trinity Church and create a vision that reconnects the city with its past. It aims to bring the heritage of the church and Old Sunderland to life through interpretation, events and performances.

Building the Canny Space - In July 2015 we were awarded a Round 1 development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in support of our £3.6 million pound project. The Canny Space project will save the nationally significant Holy Trinity, adapting it into a new venue, learning and activity space for Sunderland. Our project will provide a national exemplar in heritage-led community regeneration.

The heart of a busy port - Built between 1718-1719, the Church of Holy Trinity was once at the heart of a very busy port that served the mercantile classes. It housed the first public library of Sunderland, first civic rooms and at one point even the fire engine! However, by the mid 19th Century, the focus of civic activity had moved west and by the 20th Century, town planning had effectively cut off Holy Trinity from the city centre. 

Today, its settings are much  changed with only a small group of historic buildings remaining. Following mounting repair bills and a dwindling congregation, the church was closed and vested into the care of The Trust in 1988.

A way forward, a living building - The Trust is working in partnership with Sunderland UniversitySunderland City Council (Museums, Arts and Heritage, Local Studies and Library Services Departments), Hendon Young Peoples Project and a local advocate to bring this redundant building back into community use. The Holy Trinity Advisory Group are working to establish a cultural venue that attracts visitors from the whole region to experience the Arts, Heritage and Learning in this beautiful Grade I listed building.

The Canny Space - Our Vision 

The Canny Space is a means of creating pride in the past developing a sense of purpose in the present and building the foundations of a brighter future.

We have been trialling a programme of activities to see what works in the space. These include: plays, exhibitions, a classical concert, school production, learning workshops, a reading room and much much more!  Keep an eye on our Facebook page for future event details and dates.

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If you would like to know more or want to be involved please contact Amanda Gerry agerry@thecct.org.uk or telephone 0788 1106330.



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The Canny Space is the working project name for Holy Trinity Church, Church Street East, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR1 2BB.

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