£48k grant to help ‘altar’ church use

Benington residents' plans to redevelop the village's medieval All Saints Church into a multi-use community facility is now one step closer thanks to a �48,000 grant from WREN.
Benington residents' plans to redevelop the village's medieval All Saints Church into a multi-use community facility is now one step closer thanks to a �48,000 grant from WREN.

A PROJECT to redevelop a disused medieval church into a multi-use community facility has been given a boost with a £48,000 grant from WREN.

For the past year plans have been afoot by Benington Community Heritage Trust to give a new lease of life to All Saints Church.

After the church closed in 2003, the trust formed with five residents who got together to raise funds and oversee the project. they held a consultion event with members of the community last April to discuss how to use the building.

“Benington Church is a beautiful building and it was terrible to see it empty and crumbling away, particularly when the village desperately needs community facilities,” said project volunteer Judy Crowe.

“Had local people and WREN not stepped in, it would have faced a very uncertain future. The trust is now more determined than ever to reinvigorate the building so everyone from the village can benefit.”

The trust estimates about £1 million in total will be needed to restore the building to its full glory.

The grant from WREN will pay for urgent roof repairs to the north aisle, with works due to begin in September.

Other ideas for development at the church include a visiting post office, a community library and educational classes. The chancel area will remain open as a place of worship.

Judy added: “To safeguard the church’s future, we’re considering commercial ideas to generate revenue and make it pay for its own upkeep. But we still need to keep fundraising and bidding for grant support to make that happen.”

Not-for-proft company WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental) awards grants to community, conservation and heritage projects within a 10 mile radius of landfill sites, from funds donated by Waste Recycling Group (WRG) to the Landfill Communities Fund.

Benington Church is one of nine projects awarded a grant from WREN’s heritage fund scheme in 2011.