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Forward Momentum Newsletter Issue 6

Exciting News!! £1.57 million funding awarded.

We are thrilled to announce that our bid for funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund was successful. The project team would like to express their thanks to National Lottery players and all those, past and present, who have helped us to get this far. It has been over ten years since the initial planning began, with several setbacks along the way. An enormous amount of work has gone into getting The Way Forward project to where it is now; to have been awarded this sum of money is a fantastic achievement.

What happens next?

1. We now enter a period of time known as the “permission to start” phase.

This is an eight week period which involves (you guessed it), more documentation. These documents have to be submitted to the lottery in order to obtain the permission to start and include evidence of partnership funding (the money from the lottery is 79% of the full amount required - more on this later), evidence of planning permission, procurement plans, a very detailed delivery timeline, cash flow and the like.

2. We begin recruiting for the roles needed to deliver the project.

There will be 6 paid posts, all of which have start dates next year. These are: Project Administrator, Heritage Engagement Officer, Volunteer & Training Co-ordinator, Evaluation Consultant, Historian and Ecologist. Details on these roles and salaries can be found on the church website, If you know anyone who might be interested in these roles, please get in touch via email:

3. We publicise the project.

Press releases about the award of funding have been sent to various publications and news channels. Up to date news will be posted on social media, there will be more videos to come as well. Many of our readers are following us on Facebook but we would love there to be more of you! Search for “The Way Forward Project at St Mary’s Church, Stebbing” and click “Follow”. If a post comes up in your feed, please click “like” and “share” to get the message to more people. Or post a comment!

4. We clear the church.

This won’t happen until after the final service in the church on 25th February. Very detailed lists of every single item are being prepared in order to ascertain what will be needed while the services continue in the new temporary location, what can be boxed up until we move back in and what can be recycled/sold/given away or binned.

5. In March, the church building will be closed to the general public (the churchyard will remain open).

A specialist company will begin the work of conserving the wall painting and investigating whether there are other covered up paintings on the walls. The contractor will start to bring equipment for the capital work to begin in earnest in April.

On the subject of funding

We mentioned earlier that the Heritage Fund contributes 79% of the total project cost. We have someone who is applying for varying sums of money from other grant making bodies and trusts. We also welcome donations from anyone who wants to support the project; these can be made via the secure payment formats found in the church or expressed in writing to

In the next few weeks, we will be launching a dedicated Way Forward website. There will be a lot to communicate and this will be a website aimed at the general public. It will be the place to find out what’s going on, what events are happening and how people can get involved. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement on social media.

And finally... get in touch

Get in touch if you, or anyone you know, might be interested in the roles we are recruiting for. Applications for the Project Administrator close mid January 2024 and the closing date for applications for the Heritage Engagement Officer and Evaluation Consultant close late January. The other roles will be starting a little later in the  year.

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