BOSSES from the much-loved St John the Baptist Church in Suckley are celebrating after receiving a share of a £338,000 funding payout from the National Churches Trust.
A £10,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund work and keep the church at the heart of the local community.
Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “I’m delighted St John the Baptist, Suckley is being helped with a £10,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant.
“It will facilitate the installation of a much needed kitchen and toilet.
“It will also safeguard unique local heritage and help St John the Baptist continue to support local people as we begin to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
A total of 52 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust.
The charity supports church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK and £111,000 of the grants has been provided by the Wolfson Foundation.
This is the second round of grants made by the National Churches Trust in 2021, bringing the total support provided to the UK’s churches this year to £949,000.
Last year the Trust awarded, or recommended on behalf of other funders, 260 grants amounting to £1.7 million.
St John’s, which was completed in 1879, was designed by architect William Jeffrey Hopkins, this is a large Victorian Church in rural countryside.
Built of grey Cradley sandstone with Bath stone facings it features a 12th Century font, a 14th Century Easter sepulchre and 16th Century panels in pulpit.
The base of a mediaeval preaching cross and two other listed monuments are prominent in the church’s south churchyard.
The project will see a kitchen and toilet installed in the church’s North Transept, with a mezzanine floor above that to create an additional sound-proof ‘children’s room’. The alterations will ensure that St John the Baptist is able to enhance its potential as a community space.
Dr Anne Lewis, one of the churchwardens, said: “We are most grateful to the National Churches Trust for their generous contribution towards the installation of a kitchen and toilet in Suckley Church.
“This will be of huge benefit to both those who are using the church regularly now including the worshipping congregation, and the adjacent school, and to all those who will be enabled to use the church, particularly the elderly and vulnerable in our scattered community, who are eagerly awaiting the facilities so that they can engage with a broad range of activities in the church.
“It will also benefit those attending weddings, funerals and musical events, as well as being the catalyst to encourage many new people and groups to use the church.
“Such facilities are vital in order for our church to be sustainable. Thank you. “