Churches in Baylham and Wormingford get a share of £390,000 from National Churches Trust
- Credit: Archant
Two rural churches have been awarded thousands of pounds for improvement work thanks to the National Churches Trust.
St Peter’s in Baylham, Suffolk and St Andrew’s in Wormingford, Essex have been given a share of £390,000 by the charity which helps support and repair churches.
Both buildings, between them more than 1,000-years-old, will benefit from £5,000 grants.
At St Peter’s, parts of which date from the 12th century, the money will be spent on installing a kitchenette and a toilet.
A spokesman for the church said having these additional features would help it widen its community use.
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“We already hold concerts and talks but it is sometimes awkward not having proper facilities,” they said.
“If we make tea the cups have to be taken away and washed and although we have a shed at the back of the church with a chemical toilet not everyone wants to use it, especially in winter, and someone has to empty it.
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“If we had proper facilities we could offer the church as a meeting place or even for retreats.”
In Wormingford the historic place of worship is also partly a 12th century build, located in the Dedham Vale and made with rubble and flint mixed with Roman bricks.
Here the funds will also help create a kitchen along with an accessible toilet within the church tower while encouraging community use of the church.
A church spokesman said: “We are aware that worshippers and visitors travel to the church from some distance and express surprise that we are unable to offer refreshment or comfort.
“We know that some parishioners have elected not to attend the church due to the lack of facilities and are aware that couples who qualify to marry in the church are choosing other venues because of the lack of facilities.
“The inability to provide simple refreshments in church prevents us from demonstrating Christian hospitality.”
Vice-president of the National Churches Trust is broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards.
He said: “At the heart of the nation’s history and at the centre of local communities, churches and chapels are some of the UK’s best loved local buildings. But their future is not guaranteed.
“So this Christmas, when people visit a church for a carol service or even just walk past a church on the way to do the Christmas shopping, I urge them to think about how they can help ensure that churches remain open and good repair for future generations.
“Churches and chapels may be historic buildings, but they can be part of our future, too.”