£20k grant for new toilets and kitchen at St Edmund’s Church, Southwold

One of Suffolk’s most outstanding churches has received a £20,000 grant to help improve its facilities for worshippers and the wider community.

Grade I listed St Edmund’s Church, in Southwold, often referred to as the grandest example of late medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the county, is receiving the money from the National Churches Trust.

It will go towards a £500,000 project currently under way to turn the building into a community hub – installing extra heating, new children’s area, and a better circulatory space, also providing room for more flexible contemporary styles of worship.

The community grant from the National Churches Trust will help fund basic facilities – installation of a kitchen and toilets.

Rev Simon Pitcher, Team Rector of the Sole Bay Team, said: “The church family at St Edmund’s Southwold is really grateful to the National Churches Trust for their recognition and support for the important work that we are doing.

“The new facilities at St Edmund’s will enable the church to offer improved access, better hospitality and a degree of flexibility that have not previously been possible.

“We hope that the whole community of Southwold, and our many visitors, will enjoy and make use of the church that will now be equipped for the needs of the current century. The National Churches Trust has helped enormously in making our new future possible.”

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The toilets are vital for the church when working with the elderly and children, essential for concerts and when people have travelled a long way for weddings and funerals.

Church leaders say the lack of basic refreshment facilities has also been a deterrent to worshippers. When cold in winter the elderly stay away. It is a key part of offering a welcome and of encouraging people to linger to be able to offer a cup of coffee.

Broadcaster Huw Edwards, vice-president of the trust, said: “The installation of up-to-date toilets and kitchen facilities will ensure that the church can be used for a wide range of community activities and be of service to local people.”

The church, built from 1430-1470, is one of 70 churches and chapels across the country to benefit from the latest community grants, totalling more than £520,000, from the organisation.

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