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Today, the Lake District National Park Development committee unanimously voted to support the planning application for the renovation of the former pencil factory site, and delegated authority to the head of the planning department for approval.

Keswick Ministries, the owners, are now set to refurbish the site as a new home for the Keswick Convention and a modern conference centre.

“This is a wonderful milestone in our charity’s 140-year history and for the town of Keswick,” said James Robson, Ministry Director, Keswick Ministries. “The site, which has been derelict for 10 years, will be transformed into a facility that the town and the people of the Lake District can be proud of.”

The site will bring all Convention activities together in one place. Old warehousing will be cleared to provide space for the Convention’s main marque and the whole area will be sensitively landscaped to improve the amenity value. Meanwhile, the Pencil Factory building will be modernised to provide toilet facilities, accommodation, meeting rooms and a conference centre.

As well as the Convention, the facility will host Keswick Ministries’ teaching and training courses, visiting church, school and local community groups. It is also envisaged that the conference space will be in demand by organisations from around the country. This will attract additional visitors to Keswick outside the main tourist season and create employment opportunities.

“Our vision is to create an even better Convention experience for supporters on one site with improved facilities, plus a modern venue in this World Heritage Centre that will attract many other visiting groups throughout the year. This project will allow us to strengthen the work we are doing as well as provide a fantastic local facility.”, said James Robson, Ministry Director, Keswick Ministries.

For more than 100 years, the Keswick Convention has drawn thousands of people from all over the world to the beautiful Lake District to hear leading Bible teaching. Many Conventioners work with young people, the elderly and the disabled and return home refreshed and inspired to serve some of the poorest and underprivileged communities in the world with renewed strength. Helping to drive positive change amongst the people they care for.

In addition, the Convention and Keswick Ministries operations bring considerable economic benefits to the town and the local area. It is estimated that each summer the thousands for people who attend the Convention bring over £3 million in inward spending to the area. Meanwhile, the production of the Convention costs more than £1m and, wherever possible, contracts are awarded to local suppliers.

Work will start as soon as final planning permission is granted and it is planned that the first Convention will be held on the site in 2020.

Keswick Ministries