COUNTING BLESSINGS! Church restoration project wins Heritage Lottery support
AROUND the time that young King Henry 111 ascended the English throne, skilled workmen were beginning the transformation of St Peter’s Church in Raunds from its rather plain Norman appearance to the more inspirational edifice it is now.
And soon, thanks to local supporters and volunteers, some heartfelt prayers and a £40,500 initial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – just received – the church is to be restored to glory.
The first-stage development funding granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is for the church’s ‘Great Past, Greater Future project,’ which aims to restore and refurbish this magnificent building and deliver an exciting programme of activities and events based on its rich heritage.
The grant of £40,500 has been awarded to help St Peter’s supporters progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. If that application is successful, it is hoped the restoration and refurbishment works will begin later this year.
The project aims to underpin part of the building and restore important stained glass windows as well as a series of rare and fascinating medieval wall paintings.
There will be activities and events for visitors of all ages, including for schools, to discover more about the history of St Peter’s, its art and architecture. There will also be opportunities for people to develop conservation skills and for volunteers to train to help deliver the activity programme.
Commenting on the award, church warden Maureen Windust said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. This wonderful building has been at the heart of its community for 800 years and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to ensuring that St Peter’s not only has a great past but an even greater future.”
Jonathan Platt, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, added: “Having stood in this community for so many years, St Peter’s Church provides a great starting point for people to explore the varied heritage of Raunds and the surrounding area. Thanks to National Lottery players, I’m delighted that this fascinating building with its rare features will now be fully restored for future generations to enjoy.”
A volunteers’ open day will be held at St Peter’s next Saturday, February 13, 10.30am to 2.30pm. This will be an opportunity for potential volunteers to meet members of the project team, see how the restoration work is progressing and find out more about the volunteering roles available.
These roles include reception staff, tour guides and activity leaders, as well as a volunteer coordinator and administrator.
A training scheme for volunteers is in place; and people from any age group, faith or non-faith, will be welcome whether you have just a couple of hours a week or more time to spare.
Light refreshments will be provided at the open day and anyone planning to attend is invited to contact the organisers in order to assist them in ordering refreshments. Email Maureen Windust at: Maureen.email@example.com or call: 01933 622220.
Heritage Lottery Fund Places of Worship applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. Detailed proposals are then considered at second-round and, as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.
Pictured above – RESCUE PLAN: The magnificent St Peter’s Church is suffering from subsidence and cracks in the stonework, caused by successive years of dry weather. Underpinning works are needed urgently.