Learning how to save churches and other historic buildings

Restored former church, Quay Place in Key Street, Ipswich - at night.

Restored former church, Quay Place in Key Street, Ipswich - at night. - Credit: Archant

Charity - The Prince’s Regeneration Trust will be hosting its 30th BRICK workshop at Quay Place, Key Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1BZ on Wednesday September 27 from 9:30am - 4:30pm.

Sponsors and organisers got together at Quay Place in Ipswich for the launch of the Anglia Business

Sponsors and organisers got together at Quay Place in Ipswich for the launch of the Anglia Business Exhibition. - Credit: Millriver Publicity

BRICK workshops equip community groups to save and re-use cherished local buildings themselves. The workshop in Ipswich will be delivered in partnership with The Churches Conservation Trust and will have a focus on church buildings, but it will also offer advice and guidance relevant to all heritage-led regeneration projects.

According to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register for the East of England 2016 there are 17 places of worship at risk in Suffolk and 58 places of worship at risk in Norfolk.

That is higher than other parts of the East of England (Essex has 11, Hertfordshire has 3, and Cambridgeshire has 8).

Laura Norris, programme director – BRICK, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, said: “In the UK some of our most important buildings, which have the most pertinent links to our local and social history, are our churches. Where congregation numbers have fallen many of these buildings are in jeopardy and we have reached a critical point where more and more communities risk losing them forever.

“That’s why we wanted a workshop that would focus on churches. We want to show community groups that they really can make a difference, take on what may seem a daunting task, and save and use these wonderful places to their full potential.”

The workshop will include expert advice and training from specialists at The Prince’s Regeneration Trust and The Churches Conservation Trust, as well as guidance from key partners including the Heritage Lottery Fund. Talks will cover project management, governance, funding, digital learning and interpretation for the visitor, and design within a church space. There will also be interactive group sessions and opportunities for attendees to ask the experts about their own projects.

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The day will include an informal tour of the venue, Quay Place. The Grade II* listed St Mary Church at Quay is one of three medieval churches in the old docklands area of Ipswich that has been unused since the Second World War. Faced with an uncertain future due to years of neglect Suffolk Mind came together with The Churches Conservation Trust in 2008 to pursue a shared vision to conserve this important building and provide a valuable new resource for the local community. Quay Place is a unique venue bringing together heritage and wellbeing, offering the public a wide range of complementary therapies, mind body exercise classes, workplace wellbeing, heritage activities, meeting rooms and event space.

Matthew McKeague, director of Regeneration at The Churches Conservation Trust, said:

“Church buildings are a key part of local and national identities. However, in many cases, their futures are uncertain. We are excited to share our expertise in the regeneration of vulnerable churches and rejuvenation of communities at this workshop. We know that these ancient buildings can be sensitively – and successfully - adapted to serve modern communities. This workshop will explore how this might be achieved, from options appraisal, project planning, funding and ensuring long-term project sustainability - to the development of a well-structured business plan. Delegates looking to save local churches, will gain invaluable guidance, knowledge sharing and encouragement.”

Places on the workshop are £19, which includes lunch and refreshments, and can be booked at: https://brick-work.org/events/brick-workshop-30-ipswich/

or by emailing brickworkshops@princes-regeneration.org or calling Sophie Coyle on 020 7613 8508

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