'Bees, Bodies and Bodley' beats Big Ben at glittering awards ceremony

The Churches Conservation Trust have won a prestigious award for a major conservation project to regenerate St Peter’s Church as Sudbury Arts Centre in the heart of Sudbury.  The Award for Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year was awarded by the judges of the Museums + Heritage Awards and pitched the ‘(Re)birth of Sudbury Arts Centre’ against internationally significant projects such as the restoration of Elizabeth Tower, more commonly known as Big Ben.  The global awards celebrate the very best in the world of museums, galleries, and cultural and heritage visitor attractions and took place on the evening of Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at Hilton Park Lane, London.

The award acknowledges high standards of conservation, partnership working between the Churches Conservation Trust and The Bridge Project, and recognises the body of work undertaken over the past four years, alongside the subsequent community activities and events taking place since the site launched late last year.   

On behalf of the judges, Bernard Donoghue OBE said "All of us judges were hugely impressed with this Churches Conservation Trust project. To professionally, meticulously conserve and repurpose this redundant grade I listed church to become a vibrant, inclusive, buzzy Arts Centre at the heart of Sudbury is an astonishing achievement. We particularly loved the fact that this project was more than conserving bricks and mortar, it was about introducing heart, warmth, welcome and love into the community. This is a showcase for conservation with love and care."

Greg Pickup, CEO of the Churches Conservation Trust said  “I am delighted and enormously proud that the judges recognised the quality of the work carried out by our brilliant team, as well as what we at the Churches Conservation Trust also know to be true; that when heritage thrives, communities thrive. I hope that our success gives succour to others facing the sometimes-daunting challenge of bringing new life to historic churches; that with passion, skill and perseverance they too can re-imagine a future for these wonderful old buildings at the beating heart of their communities.  As always we are hugely grateful to our funders, supporters and donors, and in particular National Lottery Heritage Fund and the support of lottery players and their confidence in the trust to deliver on these nationally important projects”

Alli Burke, Bridge Project Head of Creative at the Arts Centre said “This is such an amazing achievement and is testament to the dedication, skills and partnership working of many people, from the project team at the Churches Conservation Trust, our staff at The Bridge, and crucially our dedicated volunteers that take care of the building on a day-to-day basis.  We all take our roles as guardians of St Peter’s very seriously, and to have won this award for the transformation of the venue is something our community should be incredibly proud of”.

Since opening the doors at the end of October last year, Sudbury Arts Centre now has welcomed over 29,000 visitors to visit the new cafe, participate in family activities, mental health support groups, careers fairs, live music gigs and larger scale events.  To find out what’s on visit www.sudburyartscentre.com