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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Archbishop Tutu backs plans for Carlisle bishop's castle

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has backed plans to transform Rose Castle into an international centre of reconciliation.

Sarah Snyder photo
Sarah Snyder, of Rose Castle Foundation

The high-profile support emerged as the Rose Castle Foundation begins negotiations with the Church Commission over a price tag for the Grade I listed building, near Dalston on the outskirts of Carlisle.

It is positive news for campaigners who have battled for five years to prevent the former Bishop of Carlisle’s home being sold to developers.

Previous attempts to save the building failed, but the foundation was formed in September in a last-ditch attempt to find a permanent – and community-based – use for the beautiful building.

Director Sarah Snyder revealed that the work behind the scenes had paid off, and the foundation is now optimistic of a final resolution within six months.

And, although the sale is not yet complete, the work of the reconciliation centre has already begun.

Mrs Snyder told The Cumberland News: “I had the privilege of meeting Desmond Tutu at the beginning of the project and I asked if he would pray for the future of Rose Castle as a centre of reconciliation.

“He said he would be delighted to and that the world has never needed reconciliation more than now.”

The foundation subsequently received a call from Archbishop Desmond’s office, who put Mrs Snyder in touch with the Tutu Foundation in the UK.

“I’ve been meeting with the organisers, who have a programme which gets members of gangs to meet face-to-face and move forward and reconcile,” Mrs Snyder added. “We have brought some of those young adults – aged 18 and 19 – to visit Rose, to test the water. They were absolutely in awe of the place, they loved it.”

The foundation has also had the support of American philanthropist and human rights lawyer Leslie Winner, who has been advising on fundraising and the strategy for the castle.

The foundation was given until this month to complete its fundraising and proposals, and Mrs Snyder said it has the “100 per cent backing” of the Church Commissioners.

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