ANOTHER milestone has been reached in the restoration of a historic hall.

Charity Banana Enterprise has been invited to bid for £3M of Heritage Lottery Funding to bring Rock Hall in Moses Gate Country Park back into use for the community.

The Bolton News reported last month that the organisation had been asked to put together an expression of interest to 'whet the appetite' of lottery chiefs, which it successfully did.

Banana Enterprise want to restore and expand the once home to the Crompton family for all to enjoy.

Jayne Allman, Banana Enterprise Network CEO, is hoping the bid will be submitted by May.

She said: “This is fantastic news. The bid preparation is going to be hard work and very time consuming and we have a lot of information to read through, before we can even start to complete the bid.

“However, we are still completely committed to our project and we will do what it takes to succeed.

“We already know about some of the tasks involved and we will need help from our steering group members and the community.

“For example, we need to obtain some letters of support from the local community who want to see Rock Hall renovated and reopened as a multi- purpose community venue.

“We also need to raise the 10 per cent match/partnership funding that the National Lottery Heritage Fund require, this could be as much as £300,000.

“It’s not going to be easy and there is a lot of competition for limited funding, which is what we have said all along.

“However, here we are at this critical milestone after our two year journey to Save Rock Hall for the community.”

Jayne said the support from the community is needed now more than ever before.

She explained: “Now, as we enter the third year of our project, we will need your support even more.

“Over the next couple of weeks, we will be developing our fundraising strategy, formalising volunteering roles and getting our heads around all the tasks we need to complete for the funding bid.

“We have also recently strengthened our board of trustees by adding two local residents who have specific skills that we need for the project.

“We will post another update once we have completed all that. It will be a team effort."

The hall was previously used as a visitor centre for the country park up until 2014.

Since that date the hall has remained closed and unoccupied.