Raising the roof in Kessingland

Published on: 25 May 2022

Our quest to start raising funds fora new thatched roof and associated repairs at Kessingland Church began in 2018, when we launched our “Raise the Roof” Campaign, with a Heritage Weekend.

This successful start brought the seriousness of the situation to the attention of many who were unaware of how bad the roof had become. Many donated by buying a “Batch of Thatch” and funds were raised slowly but surely through smaller local events; donation boxes in local shops and pubs; raffles and more.

When Covid struck in 2020, we had raised around £23k of the projected forecast of £200k. Things slowed down, but donations continued to be generously given. By December 2021 we had accrued £37.5K.

Our small team of 5 kept working and in the early days of 2021, we were made aware that funding was going to open again to other projects such as ours. We expected the application process to be long and not without its problems, but strong in our faith that this would succeed, we carried on regardless with regular meetings, contact with our Diocesan architect and engagement with many local community groups to get them involved and committed to taking part in what would be an amazing project for everyone living here in Kessingland and our many visitors.

Cutting a long story short, we carried on in faith that if purpose driven by God we would succeed, put all our costings together, the project plan for what would happen when and all the necessary paperwork, evidence, photos; testimonies and support letters/videos were uploaded to the Heritage Lottery Fund portal on October 3rd, 9 months down the line.

We always expected to get rejected first time, but we heard quickly that we had passed the first phase and then miraculously we heard the result of our total application being successful and the whole amount being awarded. Our prayers had truly been answered.

This we hope will encourage others to apply for grants and funding. Be mindful that it is not straight forward and setbacks must be expected, but when it works, all of that is so worthwhile!

Top Tips would be:

  • Have an active small team – everyone with a job to do.
  • Get the local community engaged and involved with future plans. Give them a project.
  • Be alert to potential changes: from the funding body; your projected costings; availability of tradespeople etc.
  • Be ready for setbacks & disappointment, but don’t let them become insurmountable.
  • Get excited when you receive good news – miracles do happen.

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