New life for waste land

Published on: 8 March 2022

Following major repair works to St Andrew’s Church at Felmingham, situated in a beautiful rural village in North Norfolk, it was a positive time for the Friends of the Church to explore a more ecological approach in the maintenance of the Church and its environment.

The initial aim was to develop the waste land from the works and update the light fittings to LED. The friends explored how to tidy the areas of wasteland with minimum expense, especially as we had not been able to raise funds throughout the pandemic. Our bell captain of the tower has recycled old materials, and things that would otherwise maybe end in landfill, into wonderful natural homes to welcome God’s creatures. It became a project of hope in difficult times.

The area of land to the rear of the church that was used by the contractors carrying out the work has been turned into a fabulous wildlife area with two hedgehog houses, large bug hotels and an old bedette turned into a water source for the wildlife. We also planted crab apple trees and buddleia, together with beautiful wild flowers and nettles too.

All external flood lighting and internal safety lighting to the belfry and ringing gallery has been upgraded to LED which is up to 50% more efficient. Since the project started we have now also updated the light fittings to the church altar, font and nave to LED, which will benefit the annual running costs of the church.

I believe that by working hard with our project, we have brought joy to our community.

For those people outside our community, who visit when cycling through, or out on a ramble, they can sit outside and enjoy this peaceful place. There are three benches around the churchyard.

It brought our small village community together in a way where people could be safe and distanced. It also meant at this crucial time of needing to make climate changes, we as a church were setting green examples of how to make simple and effective changes.

We would encourage other churches that when looking at repairs, you take the opportunity to improve the set up/installation for an improved and sustainable system. Also you could look to improve the churchyard areas with regards to wildlife.

Ask around in your community to find out if there are skilled people to support you. We have enjoyed great fun and laughter, and it has given us time to engage in conversation over a coffee whilst we work. This supports mental and physical wellbeing, which is so important at any time, but especially within this time that can challenge us all. It may also encourage your wider community to be more involved, which in turn brings them closer to God.

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