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Southwold churches benefit from pilot funding scheme

Sacred Heart church in Southwold has successfully taken part in a pilot government scheme into the sustainability of listed places of worship and was granted funds to address urgent repairs to the roof of the Sacristy and the Baptistry.

The Department of Culture, Media & Sport commissioned an independent review, chaired by Bernard Taylor, into the sustainability of listed places of worship in England.  The Report was produced in 2017 and, following this Historic England was tasked with running pilot schemes, one in Greater Manchester and the other in Suffolk.

As well as the repairs, Sacred Heart representatives took part in a number of the Historic England workshops and, as a result, proposed a joint workshop on maintenance with the churches of Southwold & Reydon Christians Together.

Accordingly, a half-day session, attended by Sacred Heart parishioners and representatives from the Anglican churches, St Edmund’s and St Margaret’s and the URC, was held in the Cardinal Newman Hall. The Fabric Support Officer, Dr Barbara Beckett and Laura Emmins, the Community Support Officer talked about church buildings, advised on the development of maintenance plans (or the review existing ones), and consideration of how these plans could best be delivered. For example by helping to identify potential partnerships, encourage skill sharing and possible new volunteering opportunities.  There was great enthusiasm amongst participants to develop these ideas and to adopt a cooperative approach to maintenance with all the churches helping each other.

Participation in this scheme could be extremely helpful and, for Suffolk churches within the Diocese of East Anglia, there is still an opportunity to participate in a workshop on January 27.

Places of Worship and the Wider Community: How to consult and build strong local partnerships. Laura Emmins (Community Development Adviser) will be in attendance and the workshop takes place on Monday January 27 in Beccles from 10am to 3.30pm. For more information and to book, click here

Pictured above is the Southwold & Reydon Christians Together group discussing the proposals for a joint approach to maintenance of its churches.  Committee members include the URC, Methodists, Anglicans and Catholics. Picture copyright Ben Sage Photography.