Learning from successful churches
Churches in poor or bad condition can present a huge challenge to parishes and making grant applications, raising funds and seeing through repair projects is demanding. But those hurdles can be overcome.
Here we celebrate success stories which show what can be achieved. Important lessons are learnt along the way and these can be shared with other parishes about to start on similar journeys.
The Priory Church, Dunstable
The Priory Church is a key landmark in Dunstable with fine views of and from its bell tower. It also marks the start of what was a new chapter in the story of England.
By 2019 the upper part of the bell tower had serious problems with failing stonework threatening those walking below. Repairs were urgently needed but these would cost significant sums and funding was a major challenge.
The parish responded with successful grant bids to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other bodies, got the repairs carried out and engaged local people and visitors in the project and heritage of the Priory. Read about its success, the lessons learnt and who to contact to find out more here .
St Michael and All Angels, Shefford
The tower of St Michael and All Angels stands ‘loud and proud’ in the centre of Shefford, with the widening High Street and junction to the east giving fine views of the church.
In 2011 the poor condition of the sides of the tower was picked up by the quinquennial inspection report. Two years later the church faced a ‘tower crisis’: loose render and falling masonry had to be taken down and scaffolding and a safety fence put up to protect visitors and passers-by.
Read how the PCC responded to the emergency and the lessons learnt here.
St Faith’s Church and Community Centre, Hexton
In 2015 St Faith’s Church and Community Centre, Hexton was suffering from failing chancel and vestry roofs and gutters. It has now been restored and is no longer ‘Heritage at Risk’. Read more about this great success story (page 6).
Please contact churchwarden Tony Howells on 01582 881611 if you want to talk about some of the lessons learnt.
St Mary the Virgin, Baldock
St Mary the Virgin has had two large projects involving major restoration work and creating a new performance area, improved lighting and community heritage activities. These have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grants, a bank loan and local fundraising. A further HLF grant bid will be made in 2017 for roof repairs, more community use and improved sound and vision allowing the church to turn into a cinema.
All Saints, Turvey
A quinquennial inspection discovered serious leaks in the south aisle roof at All Saints. A successful grant application was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund with further funding gained from the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, the Friends of All Saints and a legacy. The urgent repairs to the roof were tackled and a package of activities to engage the local community delivered.
Please contact churchwarden Rod Petty at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the challenges facing the parish and how they were successfully overcome with local help.