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Forward Momentum Newsletter Issue 2

It was a nail biting few weeks during the time of Lent; the days were chilly and the rain was ever present. Would our first Way Forward Community Activity Event be a wash out? Thankfully the sun came out just in time and as the Palm Sunday service finished, people from the village and its outskirts started to arrive. A heroic band of volunteers helped to: put up gazebos, organise a very popular Easter egg treasure hunt, (over 70 children participated), assist in the craft tent with the making of bug hotels and willow stars, demonstrate bell ringing, enable folk to play some tunes with the hand bells, allow young and old to try the organ, show off the heritage of the church, encourage indulgence at the chocolate fountain, serve refreshments and everyone had their fill with the delicious hog roast and cakes. Friends from Kintsugi Hope were there with a table of information and things to buy and Stebbing School showed off the best of the pupils’ artwork from their “Community Month”.

It was a great afternoon; so many people turned up and there was a wonderful atmosphere. The event was very well received.

This was the project team’s first use of the online ticketing app, Eventbrite, to encourage people to sign up (so that we had an idea for numbers for catering and the egg hunt). 150 tickets were pre-booked almost half of which were not regular visitors to the church. It also enabled us to send out a post-event survey and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Our volunteers seemed to enjoy it too as they all said they would like to help with something like this again.

What else has been happening?

There has been a lot of writing of documents for the NLHF second round bid. Some by the project team, others by professional bodies. In particular, the architectural design drawings for the building must be got right and a faculty (a permissive right to undertake works to a church building) obtained from the Diocese to make changes to the building. The PCC are reviewing all documents and special meetings have been assigned to go through them. We are 2 meetings down with 4 more to go!

Since December 2022, our appointed consultancy firm, Tricolor, has engaged with more than 160 people in and around Stebbing through online surveys - public, schools, volunteer/congregation; children’s worksheets; phone and video calls; 2 focus groups; and 1 drop in public consultation afternoon including a pub quiz in the village pub. The in our church community plus key stakeholders in the village: the school, families, local businesses and organisations. The resulting Activity Plan (another NLHF document) will be used to develop the project interpretation, learning programme, volunteer programme and wider activity plan. More will be shared in our next issue!

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