ALL Saints’ Church in Westbury is “absolutely delighted” to have received a £24,400 grant to aid essential repairs and its reopening as pandemic restrictions ease.
The money for the ancient parish church which has served its community for over 1,000 years is from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Rev Rebecca Harris, team rector said, “We are absolutely delighted that the Parish of Westbury has received this generous grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund. This will help us to make some essential repairs and improvements to the church to be able to welcome visitors to our beautiful building and help us towards a more sustainable future.
“The last year has been very difficult for us and we have been especially sad not to be able to welcome people into our building on a daily basis as we have done in the past.
“This money will help us to prepare to welcome many more people when we are permitted to once more.”
Church warden, Beth Thomas, told White Horse News, “The money has been granted to support All Saints to return to normal and increase its long-term financial sustainability. The congregation hope to be able to return in the summer to being open seven days a week for people to visit, pray or just have a quiet moment. We know that many people have missed the opportunity to pop in whenever they like.”
The money will also fund repair of the roof and rainwater goods, new welcome signage and the tidy up of the church.
Beth said, “We hope to welcome people over the summer as restrictions ease and that they will support the building with a donation.
“The application was supported by Westbury Town Council who recognise that All Saints’ Church is an important part of the visitor economy.”
More activities are planned to welcome people into the church, including workshops for older people, funded by the Area Board, which were postponed from last year due to Covid, and the popular tower tours in the summer.
Beth said, “We are keen to involve the wider community of Westbury in these activities and if people would like to find out how to get involved as a volunteer they should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org”
The building is a key part of the visitor economy as a visitor attraction and provides a community space for all. Some of the grant funds will contribute to improved interpretation and information to help visitors know more about its history and stories.
The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country in the latest round of support.
Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. This brings the government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.
The second round of awards will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.
Oliver Dowden, said, “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced. Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”
The funding awarded is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England as well as the British Film Institute and Arts Council England .