Provisions for the local community

Author: Kirsten Remer

Published on: 1 June 2018

In October 2017 I received a phone call from the Heritage Lottery informing me that our application for urgent repairs and a heritage project focussing on some of the church’s key features had been successful.

For me the process had started back in February when God nudged me to offer to help with grant applications for our ‘Building for the Future’ project, masterminded by our then vicar and her husband. I’d been off the PCC for a few years, so came to the project with fresh eyes. A two phased project was planned and permissions from the Diocese (faculty), among others, had been granted. We had just had lead stolen from the roof for a second time and spirits were low. The first phase of the project was to carry out urgent repairs to the roof, drainage, attend to cracks in the chancel arch and work in the tower. The second was to convert the back of the church so that we had a warm meeting room and space for a village vending machine; to install underfloor heating and untethering the pews from the Victorian ‘stays’ to create a more flexible space. We were mindful of the medieval pew ends. The total cost of the project was estimated to be in the region of £400,000.

Some grants had already been applied for to develop the plans for the reordering.

I was allotted the Heritage Lottery application – there is an enormous amount of guidance to help you. First you have to put in a ‘project enquiry form’ and then you are assigned a project advisor. I was invited to the Heritage Lottery offices for an information session. It was useful in terms of the process, cutting through the reams of paper guidance, and interesting to hear of the other projects being planned. Our project was for under £100,000 and we were advised to apply, in the end, under the Our Heritage scheme. It really helped that we had permissions, architects reports, photographs, evidence of need, at risk status and costings already. Then it was a question of ensuring that we met the criteria for heritage and that meant planning a project to promote the heritage of the church to the wider community and the film project was ‘born’. I found a film company in Norwich who gave me a quote for the equipment and training we would need to produce short films – all ‘fuel’ for the form! At all times one needs to consider how the lottery players would benefit from the project we were proposing. We had to put together a timetable. Then there was the wait! We were told eight weeks and I received the call within six weeks, so I wasn’t expecting it – it was such a relief. Phase one could commence! The post grant awarding process has been quite straightforward. Progress reports need to be submitted before the next phase of funding is released. We are now galvanising ourselves to resume the process with other grant awarding bodies for the second phase… watch this space!

The author...

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Kirsten Remer

Churchwarden, Newton Flotman (Parish)

59 Alan Avenue
Newton Flotman
NR15 1PY

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