Just before Christmas, the Heritage Lottery Fund gave us some good news. Our bid for cash to repair Sturry church and to undertake a programme of heritage, educational and community work had been successful.
HLF will give us a grant of £177,200 towards total project costs of £287,200. This is in addition to the grant of £25,000 we received in 2018 to help us work up the full bid. Of the total project cost, £233,660 is for urgent building repairs and £53,550 is for the heritage, educational and community objectives. This whole project is to be completed by 31 December 2019.
In addition to the HLF grant, we expect to be able to reclaim £38,000 VAT on the building works. Our bid said that we would contribute £55,000 from our own reserves and from more fundraising. And £17,000 is the notional cash equivalent of the
volunteer time the church and the wider community will contribute to the project.
The HLF-approved building repairs were those identified in our five-yearly inspection of the building in May 2017: roof and lead valley guttering; internal repairs and re-plastering; repointing the south aisle east wall and window; and tower repairs.
Heritage, Community, Education
Based on our work with the earlier grant from HLF, we proposed to HLF a series of projects to explain the heritage of the church to visitors and the local population, to improve its use as an educational resource and to make the church building more useful for a wide range of community activities.
The HLF-approved project list includes: investment in signage; improved technology, sound and visual equipment; and, some better kitchen and other facilities. We also have the cash to finance work with schools, colleges and universities and to run some activities related to the project for local people of all ages.
Finally, there is a small budget to help us work with local organisations to encourage the use of the church as a social and community hub – such as a food bank and a base for a credit union – and a facility for concerts and art displays.
Now the Work Starts
Christmas allowed us a little time to enjoy our HLF success, but the cold reality of January made us think about the work we still need to do.
1. First, we have funding gap of £55,000. Our plans for fundraising are well under way – with excellent support from the Friends of St Nicholas’ church, from Junior King’s School and from King’s School Canterbury. You will hear more about fundraising – and what you can do to help – in the first few months of 2019
2. Second, we are pleased to continue working with our architects, John Bailey and Barbara Singer, on the building project. We have already appointed our main contractors and the first site meeting with them and the architects was on 2 January 2019. There will be some disruption to church use from the end of April to the autumn when the contractors are on site. There will be scaffolding inside the building and restricted access to parts of the church – mainly the side aisles. We will work closely with the contractors and with church users to minimise disruption, to find alternative venues, etc.
3. Third, we are beginning to take forward the educational, heritage and community workstreams. We are looking to appoint volunteers to lead the work in these areas. Some of these project coordinators will come from our existing church community but we want to look more widely too.
What You Can Do
If you would like to be involved with any aspect of the work – fundraising, leading projects in the community, education and heritage workstreams, contributing ideas – please contact Martin Pilgrim for more details (his contact details are inside the front cover of this edition of Link Up).