An Appealing Year

It is now a year since Canon Jeremy Haselock joined us all the way from Norwich in order to launch our appeal. We therefore thought it was a good idea to explain where we’re up to.

How’s the Work Going?

As is clear to anyone who’s been in church we have almost entirely completed the renewal of all electrical and lighting systems at a cost of approximately £26,000.  The work has been carried out to a very high standard, from an electrical point of view we are quite safe and the overall visual effect is quite stunning.  We have also managed to remove the asbestos from the former boiler house and therefore we’re now able to pump out the water which continually gathers there.

We have also completed the first stage of the work on the fabric of the building.  This has mainly been investigations, design and tendering.  However it means that very shortly we can begin the essential work on roofs, rainwater systems and masonry which will ensure the fabric of our church stays in good repair well into the future.  A main contractor has been appointed and all being well, work on site should begin in April and will probably last at least 4 months.  The work will includes: 1) repairs to tower roof and limited repointing of parapets, 2) renewal of the valley gutter between the nave and North aisle roofs, 3) reslating of the South slope of the North Aisle roof, 4) reslating of the South aisle roof, 5) reslating the chancel roof and 6) renewal of valley gutter between the South East Chapel and the chancel roofs.  It is expected to  cost approximately £106,000 which is slightly more than originally hoped.  This is mainly because it is been found necessary to do more work that originally envisaged.  Since this work is partly funded by English Heritage we have therefore asked for an increase in their level of grant aid.

How’s the Appeal Going?

We have managed to secure the support of our MP, Borough Councillors and Town Council and we have also received excellent local press coverage

We were delighted to accept a two stages grant from English Heritage The first stage was £7,000 and for the second stage we have in ‘in-principle’ offer of £52,000.  However (as noted above) we have applied for this to be increased.  So far we have also managed to raise about £1,000 from local business and community groups, £300 from our Town Council, £1,200 from events that we have organized and £5,675 from private donations.  Therefore in total we have now raised £67,175.  We also eagerly await responses from five further applications for grants which have been completed.

The Future

Despite these significant achievements in the last twelve months, we are well aware that there is still a long way to go.  Of course we must improve the access to our building, we must provide accessible toilet facilities and a dedicated space for ringing the bells, we must also ensure that we have basic facilities for making hot drinks and serving food in order ensure the long-term viability of our church.    Of course we’ve also still got a awful long way to go in our fundraising to meet our £200,000 target.

In his sermon at the launch of the appeal Fr Jeremy said:  “Alas, it is the lot nowadays of many a parish priest to spend a huge amount of his time on caring for a building when he is called by God and trained to care for souls.  Fr Robert needs your help in all this in any and every way you are prepared to give it.  He needs your shared vision, your co-operation with him and with each other, he needs your time, your talents and skills and, let’s face it, your treasure. Only you can ensure that S Helen’s will remain a vital and life-giving ingredient in the heady mix that is 21st century Hemsworth.”

A huge ‘thank you’ to all those who have already contributed so generously of their time, their talents and their treasure. However, even in these economically difficult times, please do reconsider what else you might be able to give and if you have skills in writing letters and filling in forms then do please offer your services, for it is only with us all working together that we will be able to restore and renew this house for the Lord here in Hemsworth.

If you haven’t already donated or you would like to make another gift, please make cheques payable to “Restoration and Renewal Fund of Hemsworth PCC”.  Signing a gift-aid declaration enables us to receive more from your generosity, at no extra cost to yourself.


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