The amount, just £500 shy of that figure, has been awarded to the Nenthead Chapel Enterprise, a project designed to give the derelict chapel in the heart of the village a new lease of life.

The Grade II listed building is in the process of being purchased on behalf of the village, after which it will be turned into a community hub housing a history and tourism information centre, complete with a cafe.

It will also offer additional space for both Nenthead Community Shop and North Pennines Cycles and provide a platform for local arts and crafts.

Residents will be given the opportunity to buy shares in the venture and to have a say in how the new business is managed.

If all goes according to plan, the community hub will open its doors mid-2018, creating a number of permanent jobs.

Alston Moor parish councillor Matthew Herdman said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has offered this support.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our village and we’re looking forward to bringing the chapel back to life.

“We are now able to rescue this nationally significant building and give another boost to the village.”

The resilient, self-reliant North Pennines community already runs the village shop, the village hall, the children’s playground, a snow plough, a gritter and the public conveniences.

It is envisaged the new facility will provide a warm and welcoming gathering place for residents and visitors. It will be a focal point for a plethora of activities that embrace film and music, arts and crafts, walks and talks, and an information resource for those interested in Nenthead’s colourful story.

Built in 1872, the Wesleyan Chapel played a pivotal role in its heyday. Nenthead was once called “the village without sin”, such was the high attendance rate at its services. The project team hope the building will reclaim a central, albeit rather different, role.

They are keen to enlist volunteers willing to do their bit – and there will be plenty of ways in which people can get involved. That could mean researching local history or learning a traditional skill such as plastering with lime mortar, helping to host events and becoming a director of the new community benefit society formed to manage the project.

Many local people, including the staff and children of Nenthead Primary School, have already offered to help and the project team says all volunteers will receive a warm welcome.

Sara Hilton, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North-West, said: “This is a fantastic project that will bring so much to the local area.

“The historic Nenthead Chapel has needed a new use ever since it closed 14 years ago and we’re delighted to offer this National Lottery support, so that it can be returned to the heart of village life again.”