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Heritage Lottery Fund update

Monday 12th January, 2015 @ 11:50 am

by Louise Hodder | tags: ,

An update on the Heritage Lottery Fund Project at St Mary’s

At the end of April 2014 St Mary’s received the exciting news that the Heritage Lottery Fund had agreed to give the Church a development grant of £22,000. The grant was awarded to help St Mary’s carry out investigations and development work which would enable the Church to apply for a much larger sum at the end of March 2015. If successful, this grant will be used both to fund urgent work on the fabric of the building (including repairs to the Nave, Chancel and tower roofs) and activities which will enable people to engage more with the history of the Church.

The development phase is now progressing well. In October, a team of consultants led by the Church Architect, Peter Rogan, undertook some opening-up works, with a view to assessing the current state of the roofs and stonework; fortunately nothing unexpected was found. Peter is now drawing up more detailed plans for the next stage.

As well as restoring the fabric of the building, the other key aim of our project is to develop new opportunities for people to discover more about the heritage of the Church and its place in the history of the City. With this purpose in mind, the Church employed Louise Hodder from the start of October to act as a mentor to the project team and to develop an activity plan to show how St. Mary’s might do this in a creative and sustainable way.

November saw lots of interesting feedback from a questionnaire created for visitors to consider how the Church might improve the ways in which they are able to find out more about the history of the Church and the many notable people connected to it.

The whole period has also been a great opportunity to meet and listen to ideas from some of the many dedicated volunteers from within the congregation, the FOSM and others linked to the Church who already give so much of their time to keep St. Mary’s as an open, welcoming and active space for the community.

This period of consultation and feedback from within and beyond the Church has allowed the project team to focus on what specific activities might be possible within the budget of the grant. The following areas have now been identified as the outcomes we hope to achieve in the delivery phase of the project:

• Creation of a new high quality guide book and a selection of well-designed leaflets and trails for adults and children.

• Recruitment and training of a larger team of guides to help welcome visitors throughout the week.

• Re-ordering and design of the welcome area and displays as visitors enter the Church.

• A large scale History Day aimed at KS2 primary school children from the city which would involve fun educational activities connected to significant people/times in the Church’s History.

A number of people from within the Parish and groups connected to St Mary’s have already agreed to offer their knowledge and time to working parties which will be developing some of the areas above. As the work develops there will be more opportunities for people to be involved, so if you would like to find out more about volunteer possibilities please do get in touch.




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