A MUSEUM in Christchurch is seeking permission to refurbish its Grade II listed building as part of a £50,000 project to create a new ‘memory café’.

The Red House Museum in Quay Road has requested listed building consent for its plans from Christchurch council.

As part of its dementia-friendly project, called Still Curious, the museum is planning to re-locate its display of a river ferry (also known as a ‘salmon punt’) to a porch adjoining the west wall of the building.

Moving the passenger ferry (which was built in Christchurch in 1948 and is “very significant” to the history of the river, according to the museum) will make space inside for the new café.

The museum, which is operated by Hampshire Cultural Trust, was awarded £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project. It aims to reach over 1,000 people living with dementia and their carers over the next two years.

An accessible ground floor activity space will be created from which the museum will run its new memory café. It will give people with dementia “the opportunity to socialise, take part in activities and engage with their local heritage in a welcoming and supporting environment”, the museum says.

Laura Bullivant, community manager at the museum, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

“Hampshire Cultural Trust is committed to making the Red House Museum and all of the community museums and collections that we manage as accessible and inclusive as possible.

“This funding will have a significant impact on the provision and support for people with dementia and their carers in Christchurch.”

Still Curious will also see the development of a new dementia-friendly heritage health walk and a collection of heritage curiosity boxes. These boxes will contain a selection of mystery artefacts and images from the museum’s collections and will be used by trained volunteers as talking points to encourage discussion with groups of people with dementia and their carers.

The project is also being sponsored by Colten Care and supported by funding from Friends of the Red House Museum. The museum will be working closely with St Mark’s Dementia Support Group in Highcliffe throughout the project.

Originally built as the parish workhouse, the Red House Museum now explores the story of Christchurch from before the Ice Age until the turn of the 20th century. More than 60 local people currently volunteer their time to support the museum.