Our incredible journey in a nutshell!

Author: Gillian Machorton

Published on: 25 June 2017

When confronted with the results of our Quinquennial inspection in 2013 we were almost in despair Stow Bedon is a small rural village with some 240 parishioners and no amenities whatsoever.

However, Nicholas Warns, our Architect, pointed us in the direction of a workshop organised by the Diocese, introducing the East of England Heritage Lottery Funding for Places of Worship.

We enlisted the help of one of the Diocese ‘Ambassadors’ Ken Grapes who helped steer us through the paperwork required to obtain a grant.

To cut a long story short, we were awarded a grant of £250,000 to re-roof the nave, chancel and vestry; install new guttering and soakaways and refurbish the chancel and make some improvements to the nave.

The PCC decided that with this investment the church should be made available for use by the wider community and major improvements made to the nave. This involved removing the pews to install a new engineered wooden floor to enable wheelchair access, repositioning the font and improving the heating and lighting. After some compromise over the removal of the pews we were granted the necessary Faculties and were ready to start work in 2015.

However, a bat survey showed a maternity unit in the roof space and work was delayed until January 2016. In the meantime we were fortunate to obtain a grant from Norfolk Churches Trust of £7,000, a grant from Garfield Weston of £2,500, £15,000 from the Village Hall Fund as well as £15,000 from church reserves.

The Parish Council, which for years has had to hold its meetings in the neighbouring village, was fully supportive of our plans endorsing the idea of a village amenity.

Work started in January 2016 – the windiest and wettest month for many a year. Scaffolding was erected and the building shrouded in polythene. Our contractors, English Foundry Lead were fantastic and seemed to embrace the project as if it was their own. Iain Walker from Nicholas Warns Architects was a tower of strength helping us deal with HLF and the contractors and the work was completed on schedule in June 2016.

Conditions for obtaining the HLF grant were that we would produce a new church guide, a children’s guide and a Heritage display and with the help of the village Heritage Group we forged ahead with these projects. Pupils from the neighbouring village school helped with the children’s guide and Naked Marketing in nearby Hingham pulled together all our efforts with printers Bakers from Attleborough producing high quality work.

We were hard pressed to get everything sorted for our Open Day on 10 December and to meet the HLF deadline of the end of 2016.

We had nearly 150 visitors and their comments in the visitor’s book summed it up! Wow, fabulous, beautiful, brilliant concept, amazing transformation – very versatile too. They enjoyed reading our six display boards, sitting down and chatting over home made refreshments and browsing the various stalls of home made jams and chutneys etc. and we raised a welcome £1,500. Phase three is to have water connected and a lavatory and kitchenette installed. Watch this space.

The author...

No Image Found

Gillian Machorton

PCC Treasurer, Stow Bedon (Parish)

This article is from...

Articles in this issue...

What is a Neighbourhood Plan and why do one?

Have you ever felt that your parish is changing and you don’t have a say as to what is happening?


The Committee for Growth!

St Peter’s Church in Sheringham embraced ‘Committed to Growth’ from its inception.


Getting off the giving hamster wheel

Earlier this year we sent all PCCs in the Dioecse of Norwich a copy of the new Giving for Life: Continuing the Journey checklist.


Celebrating two major fundraising projects completed

Christ Church, Eaton is celebrating having just completed two major fundraising projects. But these achievements were only possible thanks to generous legacies.


Has your PCC got a legacy policy?

Legacies are a lifeline for many of our parishes.


Lessons from Southrepps

In 1993 St James’ Church, Southrepps received a legacy of £750,000.


What makes a good Dementia café?

When Robert asked me to write this article I thought that it would be a very easy job because I am so passionate about the café at Wymondham. But the more I thought about it the harder it has become.


Engaging community at Advent and Christmas

Advent and Christmas can be a prime time for engaging with the local community. A tangible excitement grows and amidst the busyness of preparing and shopping there is often the gathering together of families and openness to engage in festive activities.


Fakenham’s Christmas Tree Festival

Organised by a team of six, planning begins in January.


“Oh yes they did!” at Quidenham Church

We put on a pantomime in Quidenham Church - Ali Baba and the Raiders of the Lost Crypt!


Keep up to date

Subscribe to our eNews for a snapshot of news, events and resources, usually emailed once a fortnight

Signup to newsletter