You may remember that in June we informed you all that we were making an application for Heritage Lottery Funding, with a view to carrying out major repair work to the church building.
Regrettably, our application was unsuccessful, as it did not provide sufficient “value for money” to “the people and communities” beyond our own community, despite all we do to support so many worthwhile causes here and abroad.
However, even without the Lottery funding, we need to press on with plans to repair the roof structure, windows, walls and rainwater goods, and seek best advice from persons experienced in restoring Grade II Listed churches. We must bear the cost of fees and building work ourselves, whatever that might amount to – and it will involve very considerable expense. The best estimate obtained to replace the main roof covering alone is in excess of £122,000. As we do not have sufficient funds to cover that, we will inevitably have to overdraw our bank account and make a concerted effort to save and raise money, over a period of years, to repay the deficit. However, we do have almost £19,000 in a reserve fund for emergencies, which we can utilise, and we await repayment of money from our insurers, following the copper roof work and dry rot problem; we are still owed around £10,700 from them. We are, therefore, in a position financially to at least begin the process of engaging professionals to develop a project of renovation: initially to the external fabric of the church, to keep it wind and watertight, and then, hopefully, to improve the interior.
It is important to me as your Parish Priest that you are kept advised of progress and consulted for your views when appropriate, so it is likely that this topic will be making a regular appearance in our newsletter and on our website for you all. Even at this early stage I want to record my huge gratitude to Jim McClean, who is constantly working away in the background looking after these not inconsiderable projects. To him, and to members of the Finance Committee, thank you!