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Forward Momentum Newsletter Issue 4

The Way Forward project has completed the development phase! This is a big milestone as it means our second (and final) bid for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been submitted. The project team and the PCC from St Mary's spent many hours writing, reviewing and finalising all the documents that were required as part of our application.

The development phase started in March 2022 when we received our first tranche of funding from the lottery, enabling the recruitment of consultants to help with things like defining how we would heat the building, what the interior would look like and drawing up a very detailed plan for activities in the years to come.

If our second application is successful, (and we fully believe it will be), the long awaited and much anticipated renovations can take place and the activities started. Within the next two months, we need to write a "completion report" and an "evaluation report" for the NLHF. We continue to chase the Diocese of Chelmsford for the faculty that we need to carry out the work on St Mary's and also the local council for the planning permission we need for the new tank which will house the fuel for heating the building.

This month, we interviewed some specialist building companies to carry out the renovation work (obviously subject to lottery funding). As principal contractor, they will oversee and complete all the renovations needed for the church building, and consequently enabling it to be removed from the Historic England "Heritage At Risk" register.

If you want to see what is involved, take a look at our short video on our Facebook page. Search for "The Way Forward Project at St Mary's Church, Stebbing".

So, what is in store in the coming months?

While we await the decision from the NLHF (due December), we will continue to write pieces for local publications and post on social media. Decisions need to be made about what items in the church need to go into storage and where church services and activities will take place during the renovation work.

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