Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage make �3 million available to churches in east of England

A HISTORIC Great Saling church is set for some much-needed improvements after �86,000 was awarded to fund the repairs.

St James’ Church, a grade-II listed building, has been flagged as a priority for major repairs for the last 15 years and has finally been given the money by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage who announced that �3million would be spent on repairing 30 grades I and II-listed places of worship across the East of England.

Lydia Rowe, who applied for the grant, said: “We are really pleased because we don’t have to worry about a roof that is going to collapse,” she joked.

“It is really difficult to secure a grant of this size, as you can imagine, especially at a time when organisations are tightening their belts.

The church’s roof is in dire need of repair, and the porch, which has not been repaired since 1840, has become “perilous” to the congregation.

“They have got to the stage where they are beyond their life,” said Mrs Rowe.

She added that, despite the small congregation at parish churches, they remained major landmarks within communities and had historical relevance.

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“It is important to try to help this building stay in a good state because some parts date back to Saxon times.”

She went on to say that there would be a substantial delay before the work started, because of all the procurement processes that need to be fulfilled for the funding to be released.

“We need to raise 25 per cent of the �86,000, which is �21,500, before English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Funds release the funds to us. The extra money will come from fundraising and applying for other grants.

To kick-start the fundraising, Great Saling Church is hosting a wine-tasting event on March 12 in the village hall.