Christmas came early for All Saints Church in East Winch, which has received £193,800 of Lottery funding to pay for urgent structural repairs and a new educational scheme.
The Grade II listed church needs significant repair work on the tower walls, providing new heating and repairing the West Door, but further funds must be raised to pay for all of the work.
Rev Jane Holmes was thrilled to hear that the Heritage Lottery Fund had granted her application for the money after spending hours putting the paperwork together.
She said: “It’s a lovely Christmas present. We are all so thrilled because we have applied for grants before but not been given the funding.
“The tower is largely built in carrstone which is soft and it has got to the point where it is in jeopardy and requires very expensive stonework.”
The full repairs also include the fitting of bird net to the belfry and work on the damp problem on the north side of the building. The money will also be used to create a dedicated heritage website for the church, new guide books and a heritage trail.
Rev Holmes said: “It’s about securing the future of the church and we are looking to get local people excited about the church and their heritage.
“We have a full congregation who are all very faithful but we have to think about who is going to be looking after the church in the future.”
With this in mind, they will be developing a new educational programme for children of local schools to learn about different aspects of the church in themed trips. Ghoulish Graveyard will see the youngsters looking at gravestones, while others will learn about stained glass in Stories in the Windows. Animal Magic will focus on the medieval pew ends that depict animals including a spitting cat, Have A Go will give children access to the pulpit, to ring bells and play the organ - areas that are usually out of bounds. Finally, Stone Me will look at the geological aspect of the church.
Rev Holmes said: “We want to get the children involved, there’s a lot of learning to be had just by looking at the church and the schools will be interested in the educational visits.”
The team at the church must now put together a plan for the building work but hope that work will start next year, once they have fundraised between £10-15,000 through charity events and extra grants.
Rev Holmes said: “We will need to fundraise and will be getting some more people involved from the wider community. We hope that the East Winch and West Bilney Community Group will produce guide books and heritage bards for the church.
“We will be holding a meeting in the new year to start making plans.”
Anyone who would like to get involved in the project should contact Rev Jane Holmes on 01553 636227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org