Sue, from St Mary’s Church, Whissonsett explains more:
The project was first delayed by repairs to the roof – it would not have been practical to continue with the kitchen only to have water pouring through the roof! Then Covid hit which delayed the ability for the PCC to meet and agree the final plans.
We were very lucky with our grant applications receiving grants from; National Churches Trust, Geoffrey Watling Trust,
Garfield Weston Trust, Benefact Trust, Paul Bassham Trust and Laing Family Trust.
We had amazing support from everyone in the village and wider church family. Some of those who gave will be at the special service we are holding on 15 October to be led by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher. Bishop Graham will also dedicate the new facilities.
The new facilities have already made a difference to our refreshments at the end of services. No more having to fill flasks with hot water at home and take the washing up away!
We held a very successful Harvest of Songs of Praise in September. Nearly 40 people attended and enjoyed listening to poems and readings – several of which had been written especially for the service and, of course, singing traditional harvest hymns. After the service, there was the chance to sample the Harvest loaf baked by one of our dedicated band of volunteers together with other delicious refreshments.
We have also held a sale of books, toys, jigsaws and vinyl in the church which raised over £340 for church funds. Again, the ability to use the kitchen and have a toilet on site was so well received.
It has been very challenging over the last six years particularly over the last six months during the building work. We have managed to hold services but have had to close the church to visitors and of course no bells as electrical work was being carried out in the bell tower.
Yes, it has been worth it. Would I do it again? No, but don’t let that put you off! Just be prepared for the long haul and lots of time spent on grant applications, emails, phone calls with queries etc at all times of the day and evening. It’s a good thing I am married to the Fabric Officer!
If your church/PCC is planning a project or is faced with urgent repair work and you would like support, please contact Frances Jackson, Historic Church Building Support Officer, or a member of the Care of Church Buildings team.