Benington Community Heritage Trust secures Heritage Lottery Fund Investment
Benington Community Heritage Trust (BCHT) has secured a grant of £1.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore and reopen the closed church of Benington All Saints in Lincolnshire as a community, events and heritage centre to be known as The Beonna at All Saints, it has been announced.
The BCHT has worked closely with The Churches Conservation Trust Regeneration Taskforce to put together a plan to conserve and adapt the Grade I listed ‘at risk’ church.
The new project will begin with essential conservation work on this Grade I listed building which is over 800 years old and of national significance. Work will follow to adapt All Saints so that it will provide an attractive new venue for the 21st century and beyond. Work will begin in April 2016, and the Beonna Centre will open in 2017.
All Saints closed in 2003, and since 2009 The Churches Conservation Trust Regeneration Taskforce have been working with BCHT to explore alternatives to redundancy for the building. In 2013 the CCT were appointed Project Managers to deliver the 'Round Two' bid to HLF. The CCT hopes that this project will inspire other community groups to take a more active role in the future of their own community spaces and look forward to supporting this enterprising community as they embark on the next stage of the project.
Reopening the church as a community and events centre will bring back much needed services to the village. These services will be located within one easily accessible space – to be known as The Beonna at All Saints Benington. A wide and varied event and activity programme for the site will attract a broad number of users, contribute to tourism in South Lincolnshire and generate sufficient income to provide a sustainable future for this wonderful building. An innovative model of delivering much needed rural services within one space will be developed and the project will act as an exemplar for how other at risk churches can meet 21st Century needs and be saved for the benefit of future generations.
A range of activities are planned for the Beonna Centre including a community café, clubs and classes for all ages and the staging of events such as concerts, exhibitions and conferences. There will be a wide variety of opportunities for volunteers to become involved whatever their interests, including learning traditional building and other heritage skills and helping with all aspects of the new centre. Opportunities are available now and there will be free training if required.
Commenting on the award Kevin Pinner, Chairman of Benington Community Heritage Trust said:
""We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. All Saints is a very beautiful building which has been at the heart of the community for over 800 years. Now we will be able to give it a sustainable future so it can continue to play an important part in the lives of present and future generations. We are very grateful to all those who have helped us achieve our goal, especially The Churches Conservation Trust, the Diocese of Lincoln and the Architectural Heritage Fund, their support has been invaluable.""
Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of The Churches Conservation Trust said:
""The Churches Conservation Trust is delighted with the news that Benington Community Heritage Trust has received a round 2 award of £1.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in support of the Beonna project. The Trustees have worked hard to secure this investment which will not only conserve a unique building of national importance but also affect transformative change in the lives of local people. The CCT fully supports the Trustees plans to reinstate vital support services for the young and elderly back into the community – via the Beonna – and will continue to support this enterprising community as they embark on the next stage of the project.""
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands, said:
""All Saints is an important building with a long and distinguished history. This National Lottery investment will give it the new lease of life that it deserves and give the people of Benington a much-needed new community hub for everyone to use and enjoy.""