Harmony Works Receives National Lottery Funding

Harmony Works Receives National Lottery Funding

Harmony Works is awarded a £250,000 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore Canada House.

Sheffield Music Academy, working with partners Sheffield Music Hub, Music in the Round and Brass Bands England, has been awarded £250,000 of development funding by The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Harmony Works project. Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to create a new home for inspirational music education in the heart of Sheffield by restoring and repurposing the heritage building Canada House.   

The funding will help Harmony Works progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date. 

Harmony Works will restore and repurpose the impressive, grade II* listed Canada House, which was built as the commercial centre for the Sheffield United Gaslight company in 1875.  The building is in the Castlegate area of Sheffield City Centre and Harmony Works is one of the projects benefitting from support from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund via the City Council’s £20m Sheffield Gateway bid.  The £13 million project received planning permission and listed building consent in November 2022.   

By relocating to a bespoke city centre venue, Harmony Works partners will be able to offer the great benefits of a musical education to more children and young people. With excellent transport links, Harmony Works will be accessible from all areas of the city and beyond, so will be able to provide relevant and inspirational musical opportunities to young people wherever they live or whatever their background.   

The Harmony Works partners are committed to breaking down barriers to music making for children and young people. Each week they work with a diverse range of partners in schools and other settings to bring musical learning to over 15,000 of Sheffield’s children and young people, delivering tuition during and after school, and offering 25 different opportunities to take part in award-winning Concert Bands, choirs, samba bands and symphony orchestras.  

Over the years Canada House has had many uses including a Chinese buffet restaurant and TurnUps night club.  It’s been largely empty for many years but now the Harmony Works project offers a sustainable future use for the building, which will provide public access to the impressive Victorian spaces.  Provided the project meets its fundraising targets, Harmony Works is expected to open late 2026. 

Martin McKervey, Vice Chair of Sheffield Culture Collective and Chair of the Castlegate Partnership said: “This is a significant step for the city’s cultural strategy. This grant recognises the vision and ambition of many partners to develop a nationally recognised centre for music education, that will have its base in the North.”  

Emily Pieters, Harmony Works Project Director, said: “We’re delighted to receive this support, thanks to National Lottery players. This funding award represents an important milestone for the Harmony Works project.  

“We want to be able to offer all kinds of music-making, which is why Canada House is so brilliant – it’s got a range of spaces with different sizes and characters, from the grand hall, with its beautiful glass dome, to the brick vaulted basement rooms.   

“Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund we can press on with the project development work and further fundraising which will turn our plans into reality and realise our ambition to provide a new home for creative opportunity for all of Sheffield’s children and young people.” 

The development of Harmony Works is also being supported by the University of Sheffield as part of its commitment to contributing to the city’s cultural vibrancy and its work to present Sheffield as a Music City. Professor Gill Valentine, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, says: “From bringing a heritage building back into public use to providing opportunities for young people in the region to pursue their musical journeys, this is such good news for the city in so many different ways and we are delighted to be part of this wonderful story.  Our colleagues in the Department of Music are excited about the opportunities it will provide for our students and for our research community to collaborate with this unrivalled centre for music education in the north.”  

Image credit: Vox media


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