Great Cornard church to apply for lottery funding to make £1m community hub project a reality

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church,

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church, Church Rd, Great Cornard, Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

An ambitious £1million project to transform a west Suffolk church into a community hub could become a reality.

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church,

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church, Church Rd, Great Cornard, Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

St Andrew’s Church in Great Cornard, near Sudbury, is applying for £600,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to fulfil their plans for a multi-use venue.

The improvements will enable the church to host everything from pilates classes to wedding receptions alongside regular services.

The remaining £400,000 for the project is expected to come from other grant sources and community fundraising, according to Reverend Chris Ramsey.

The church will host an open day from 10am on February 18 for people to view plans and offer their expertise on the project.

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church,

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church, Church Rd, Great Cornard, Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Rev Ramsey said: “We look at it as adding our own layer of history to this beautiful building, celebrating the history of the church and putting our own stamp on it too.

“It’s all about having a vision for the community, in a place that is a centre of worship yet embracing diversity.”

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“We hope people will join us on February 18 to give financially if they can, share lunch, look at the plans, voice concerns and celebrate possibilities.”

The reverend added that he liked the idea of couples marrying in the church as well as being able to hold their receptions at the venue, with the same applying to funerals and wakes.

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church,

Peter Halden and Rev Chris Ramsey are trying to raise funds for an expansion at St Andrew's Church, Church Rd, Great Cornard, Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A wish list of work to be done includes; levelling the floor in line with the main door, flexible seating - including removing pews and replacing them with chairs, building work to the gallery which overlooks the main worship area, creating a meeting room under the gallery and creation of toilets and a kitchen.

The church is also hoping to digitalise parish records and undertake a 700 years project which will see 700 people interviewed and their testimonies digitally recorded for research use.

Peter Halden, church warden at St Andrew’s said the project would create a community hub to be used by all sorts of different groups.

“We are looking to promote the heritage of the church as well as looking forward,” he said.

Anyone interested in the project is welcome at St Andrew’s on February 18 from 10am to view the plans.

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