It’s the oldest building in Portsmouth, but it’s not long since Wymering Manor was facing an uncertain future.
It had sat unused since 2006 and Portsmouth City Council could no longer afford the upkeep of this once-grand Grade II-listed house, parts of which date back to the 16th century.
The council tried to sell the place, but there were no takers at auction.
Eventually, ownership of the manor was transferred in January to a trust made up of volunteers who were determined to keep it alive and open for the people of Portsmouth to enjoy.
But this isn’t the end of the story. Far from it.
Because passion alone won’t keep Wymering Manor going. The harsh reality is that pounds are needed to pay the bills.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, chairwoman of the trust, has revealed that it costs around £3,000 a month just to cover security, insurance and electricity at the manor.
The trust also needs cash to pay for an options appraisal to establish what work needs to be done at the manor.
Being awarded £1,000 by Community Action Hampshire last week, to go towards running costs, was good news.
Now we report today how the trust has teamed up with Portsmouth’s All About Tea and is encouraging people to hold tea parties in August.
A launch at the manor at the weekend gave people the chance to taste a special blend created especially for the event, while tea bags were given away to be used at fundraising events.
The idea is that people could be charged admission to tea parties, or raffles could be held, and the money go towards running the manor.
We hope lots of people get involved in organising and attending the parties, supporting the small band of volunteers whose dedication has saved Wymering Manor for the city.
There’s a way to go to restore this piece of history set amongst a modern urban landscape to its former glory.
But even the longest journey starts with small steps.