Parish church windfall to fund urgent repairs and create community involvement

All Saints' Church, Turvey.
All Saints' Church, Turvey.

The parish church at Turvey has won more than £100,000 in lottery funding for urgent repairs and to create more links with the community.

It is one of a number of the country’s most historic churches to receive grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

All Saints’ Church, which has received £113,000, will have urgent work carried out on the leaking roof, including the renewal of the roof timbers. Work is also planned to restore a grassed, tranquil area in the churchyard and install a new bench.

Other projects to be funded by the grant are aimed at encouraging both the congregation and wider public to explore the heritage of All Saints, including the creation of a children’s guide and a much-needed dedicated children’s area in the south aisle, a new visitor guide, interactive interpretation inside the building, and volunteer-led tours.

The Grade 1 listed building is one of the finest and oldest churches in the Diocese of St Albans, with parts of the present building dating to Saxon times. It features in England’s Thousand Best Churches by Simon Jenkins. Apart from regular church services, in recent years All Saints has been used as a venue for music concerts and drama performances involving the local community, including the Turvey Mysteries cycle of Mystery Plays.

Rod Petty, churchwarden, said: “We are delighted and indebted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for giving us their support and making it possible for us to revitalize the church in the community. The repair and renewal of the south aisle roof will ensure that visitors and church members will be able to enjoy the church for another phase of its long life. The provision of a children’s area will open up the church to a new generation and a wider community.”

The grants have been awarded though HLF’s Grants for Places of Worship (GPOW) programme. The HLF has invested more than £66 million into religious buildings and monuments across the East of England.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “Churches have been at the heart of our communities for hundreds of years. We are delighted that All Saints has been awarded a grant to address the urgent repairs needed to its structure. The church itself is a very important building, both architecturally and to its community, and this project will enable it to continue to function as a space for worship, and serve local people of all ages for a range of activities.”