AN ambitious project to restore a set of 17th-century almshouses has won the support of an ethical bank.

The Charity Bank is supporting the £1.1m refurbishment of Lady Lumley’s Almshouses at Thornton-le-Dale, near Pickering, with a £500,000 loan.

The Grade II listed almshouses were built as a gift to the village from Elizabeth, Viscountess Lumley of Waterford, in 1670.

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The Homes and Communities Agency has awarded the project a £481,000 grant and the almshouses will fund the balance from its cash reserves.

Charity Bank is an ethical bank that lends savings from individuals and institutions to charities and other social sector organisations to help them enrich and improve society.

Regional lending manager Jeremy Ince said: “Although it is small, the Lady Lumley’s Almshouses charity has a significant positive impact on the quality of life for residents.

“As well as providing accommodation for elderly residents of the area, the charity provides them with wider help and support. Trustees visit residents regularly and provide friendship and assistance.”

The chairman of the almshouses, David Fitzgerald, said: “The almshouses needed complete refurbishment and renovation to ensure that they continue to provide an acceptable living standard for our residents, whom we consulted at length to make sure we understood what they wanted.

“The accommodation is being completely remodelled to make better use of the space.