Church to become concert venue

A SUFFOLK church will be converted into a concert venue thanks to a £772,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.St Peter's Church, which is based next to the historic Ipswich Waterfront, is to be transformed into the venue for community use.

By Danielle Nuttall

A SUFFOLK church will be converted into a concert venue thanks to a £772,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

St Peter's Church, which is based next to the historic Ipswich Waterfront, is to be transformed into the venue for community use.

It will be the first time the building, currently redundant, will be available for use by members of the public in many years. It is currently only open half a day per week during the summer months.

The cash has been awarded to the Ipswich Hospital Band, which is spearheading the project and will oversee St Peter's ongoing use as a concert venue.

Work will include the creation of a stage and 205-seat auditorium as well as sound and lighting facilities. Essential conservation work to the building will also be carried out.

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Once the renovation work is complete, the church will offer a range of displays recounting its history, which dates back to 1130.

Vic Lowne, of the Ipswich Hospital Band, said: “We are absolutely over the moon about this award. Apart from giving us much needed rehearsal and performance space, it will establish our position as a major contributor on the local musical scene.

“We are quite certain that other local organisations will benefit from our initiative. We are indebted to Ipswich Borough Council and the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust for their support.”

The refurbished church will host musical performances and a wide variety of arts activities. Events will be promoted through the Tourist Information Centre and will form part of the Ip Art Festival.

Volunteers will be able to get involved in the day-to-day running as well as developing display materials about the church's history.

Robyn Llewellyn, regional manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund in the East of England, said: “It is so exciting to help bring a wonderful historic building like this back to life for local people to enjoy.

“St Peter's is an absolute gem, located right in the middle of a major regeneration area, so this scheme ticked all the boxes for us.”

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