CHERISHED & RESTORED OR LOCKED & LOST?
St Sampson’s Church, South Hill, as many of you will be aware, needs major repairs and improvements. In August our funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund was unsuccessful but they like our project and we were advised to reapply in the New Year under a new funding programme, with a scaled down project and more evidence of community need and support. There was one million pounds available to the South West with a total of five million being requested from fourteen applicants. We were asking for £500,000 so half the pot that was available!
Undeterred we will apply again. In consultation with our architect, the most urgent and essential items that need to be done are; the ceiling, which now has holes in it, the roof, which needs re–slating, the tower, to prevent water coming in, a toilet, which also means getting a water supply, and the window and stone work repairs, which will stop many of those pesky draughts. This scaled down work will still cost in excess of £300,000.
This is a huge sum, but not impossible to raise. Some people have said, “why doesn’t the Church of England pay for it?” The answer is, “Each congregation is responsible for maintaining their church building and the Church of England does not provide money for repairs”. Others have said, “Taxes pay for churches”, the answer to that is, “no they don’t”. There is no central or official funding for church buildings. Another question may be, “we have a fantastic well used hall, why do we need another space?” and the answer is, “it is used almost to capacity and another public space will complement the hall”. There are funding bodies out there that can help, but so can each member of our community. St Sampson’s needs to show not only why the repairs and improvements are needed but also that there is community support (the survey you all completed two years ago was a big help, thank you). Funding bodies want to see the community rallying round, doing their best and doing their bit. The building with its rich heritage could be used much more by the community, especially if we have toilet facilities. Some of the things you suggested in the survey were concerts, exhibitions, a meeting space, educational classes. All this and more could happen if the repairs and improvements are done. But… there is a real risk that without repairs, improvements and support St Sampson’s will be locked and lost in the future.
Does St Sampson’s hold a special place for you? Do you know about its Cornish heritage and history?
If you value St Sampson’s, for whatever reason, how can you help? Your time, your expertise, your ideas, your contacts, your enthusiasm. I have had a lot of conversations recently, making people aware of the situation, and this has resulted in some brilliant ideas and excitement for the project. We need to share ideas and enthusiasm and that is the purpose of the community meeting on Monday 29th October in the Parish Hall at 7.30pm. Please do come along, bring your friends and neighbours near and far, they don’t have to live in the parish. We need you all for a group photo to show how valued St Sampson’s Church is.
Can’t make the meeting, but want to show support? contact Judith Ayers email@example.com
Let’s make St Sampson’s Church Cherished and Restored.