Church given £25,000 lottery funding boost

PUBLISHED: 06:31 28 November 2017

Portbury volunteers who are raising money to help repair church.

Portbury volunteers who are raising money to help repair church.

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Plans for a major revamp of a village church have received some crucial financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Portbury volunteers who are raising money to help repair church.Portbury volunteers who are raising money to help repair church.

St Mary’s Church in Portbury is in need of urgent repairs to its walls, chapel and a window, while there are also plans to create a heritage centre too.

Almost a quarter of a million pounds is needed to complete the overhaul and the HLF has given the church community a major boost this month after agreeing to give more than £25,000.

The church is Grade-I listed and dates back to the 12th century.

Churchwarden Ann Longstaff said this was a huge step forward for the fundraising campaign.

She told the Times: “We’re delighted to gain National Lottery support for a bright future for our church.”

The HLF’s contribution will be used by the church to develop its plans to fix the problems, and build the heritage centre, and enable it to apply for a larger grant to complete the works.

Ann said the community’s support had been invaluable to the successful funding bid.

She said: “One of the key strengths of our project is the growing band of volunteers, both from the church and the wider community, who contribute so much towards the upkeep of the church and graveyard.

“May we take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everybody who gives their time and skills in support of the church, especially those who tirelessly give behind the scenes.”

The HLF is funded through money raised by players of the National Lottery.

Among its funding streams is a grant for places of worship and they are assessed in two rounds. St Mary’s has received £25,100 in the first and is hopeful its more detailed plan will net it the full £235,000.

The repairwork and the building of a new heritage centre forms part of St Mary’s plans to be more active.

Ann said a number of weekly activities are on offer at the church.

She said: “We aim to keep the church open more and to use it for other groups and concerts, including an art group to start shortly.

“The toddler group is going really well – on Tuesdays from 9.15-11am. Everybody is invited.”

The church’s offerings and services are publicised on its village noticeboard.

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