Group to 'altar' the way church is used

Thursday 5.30pm - THE future of an 800-year-old Benington church is now in the hands of the public – with a special open day and consultation event on Saturday to consider its regeneration and re-use.

The Grade I listed All Saints Church was closed for worship in 2001 but now the Benington Community Heritage Trust, working with the Churches Conservation Trust, are aiming to open it up for community use while retaining its history.

Church trustee Martin Wright, from Wrights Surveyors, said: "The event will be an opportunity for local groups to provide an input in to the future use of the church.

"Our aim is to use the church for a multi-use centre, which will make it one of the first in the country. With the village shop/post office having recently closed, local amenities are fast dwindling. The success of this project will help to generate the village community and be a focal point for local activities and events."

He added: "The Friends at Benington Church have been active in raising money to assist with the work to date and without their support our progress would not have been possible."

Robert Bell, chairman for the Benington Community Heritage Trust, said: "For it to truly be a building for everyone, we want and welcome the ideas of anyone who lives locally as to how it could be re-used."

The free open day will feature a variety of activities from falconry to flower styling, trampolining to treasure trails, and music to modeling vegetables.

Visitors are asked to share their memories by bringing photos and building upon the group's local history displays.

Loyd Grossman, chair of the trustees for the Churches Conservation Trust, said: "Historic churches can be as contemporary and relevant to communities today as once they ever were with a little commitment and inspired thinking."

The open day will run from 11am to 4pm at All Saints Church on Main Road. There is a hog roast event with live music from 6.30pm with a small entry fee.

l Information: 01522 722583.