Case Study: Redhills – Durham Miners’ Hall

6th June, 2022

To see all the Rebuilding Heritage Case Studies, click here.


Durham Miners Hall opened in 1915 as the purpose-built headquarters of the Durham Miners Association (DMA). Known as Redhills, the hall houses ‘The Pitman’s Parliament’, the seat of the Durham Miners Association democracy that shaped the lives of the people of County Durham for generations.

Elected delegates from across the county met at Redhills and created a pioneering social system, providing medical care, libraries, welfare halls, retirement homes and sports grounds before the introduction of the welfare state.

In late 2022, a multi-million-pound refurbishment and extension will begin, following a successful grant secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2021. The overall cost of the project will be £7.25 million, with Durham County Council also providing support along with funding from trade unions and community supporters. The Association recently handed over the running of Redhills to the community, establishing a new charity in 2021 – Redhills CIO – to take on the management of the building.



“As a historic organisation on the journey to establishing a new charity, Rebuilding Heritage provided an opportunity for our whole Development Team to develop skills, build confidence and access support from peers and professionals.”

Nick Malyan, Chief Executive, Redhills CIO


The major milestones for funding the Redhills capital project were realized during the Pandemic and the team came to Rebuilding Heritage amid the uncertainty of Lockdown. Their Stage 1 successful application to National Heritage Lottery Fund was received nine days before the national Lockdown in March 2021.

The team needed to make rapid adjustments to plans, moving consultation online to make use of a workforce at home with higher engagement within digital platforms, using research to inform likely visitor behaviour once Lockdown lifted.

They approached Rebuilding Heritage before their Stage 2 submission to NHLF.

A major challenge for the organisation was the sustained lack of visibility caused by the Pandemic and the potential impact this may have on audience numbers. Ahead of reopening in Spring 2023, they were keen to develop strategies for engaging audiences to maintain a presence during capital works.

Support Received

Rebuilding Heritage offered support following two successful applications, providing for the Programme Director, Programme Manager, Communications Manager and Programme Coordinator:

Round 4 – March 2021

Round 5 – May 2021

Redhills CIO accessed:

121 Support: Legal Support (Bates Wells) Communications Strategy (Media Trust), Fundraising Strategy (Chartered Institute of Fundraising)

Group training: Leadership (Clore Leadership), Financial Literacy (Creative United), Inclusion in the Workplace (DCN & EMBED)

Other: Rebuilding Heritage Webinars, Follow-up discussions with Wellbeing trainer.

Learning Outcomes & New Directions

The practical nature of the leadership group training was useful because it enabled peers to find ways to tackle similar challenges. Durham Miners Association has been able to apply this learning to the particular issues that arose while the organisation was in a phase of transition from limited company to a CIO.

Financial Literacy
Durham Miners Association adopted different method of keeping accounts, setting up accounting packages, cashflow projections, and financial reporting to
support capital works, reopening and revenue fundraising.

They worked with a consultant to develop a plan to maintain links with the community during a phase of closure and virtual-only activities.

Inclusivity in the workplace felt timely; while Durham Miners Association has always prided itself on responding to the needs of its communities, the new CIO provided an opportunity to update existing equalities policies and the training has accelerated work on their new EDI policy.

Other Learning
They also built well-being into their thinking because of the community needs (a community in grief); this included how to communicate inclusively and with care.


This case study was adapted from those included in the Rebuilding Heritage External Evaluation by Antrobus & Armitage.

Redhills CIO – | Twitter | Facebook

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