It has been announced that the Parish of Boston has received a confirmed National Lottery grant of £1,166,700 for its ‘A Passion for People’ heritage project. The total cost of the project, with money raised by the Parish of Boston, will be £2.7million.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, ‘A Passion for People’ is an ambitious project to transform one of this country’s most architecturally iconic churches into a centre of cultural learning, heritage interpretation, all-age people development, musical excellence and community integration. The project will increase the number of visitors, engage tourists and promote Boston’s heritage to an overseas market.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project includes the repair of the west face of the tower and tower roof, urgent repair and development of the pews, installation of underfloor heating and the construction of draft proof, flood resistant and accessible porches on the north and south doors. An educational interpretation and activity scheme will also be created, telling the stories of the people of the town and church.

St Botolph’s Church is one of the largest parish churches in the country: its daily life revolves around prayer, worship and community engagement. The church hosts many secular events, working with organisations within the area. In recent years it has hosted concerts and events in its role as a centre for the community life of the town. St Botolph’s acts as a hub for the community and has been described as the very ‘heartbeat’ of Boston. It is open every day form 8.30am until 4pm, and it could not function without its team of volunteers. St Botolph’s is Boston’s premier tourist attraction, welcoming in the region of 100,000 visitors a year. Visitors come to visit one of the most historically significant churches in the country, with approximately 5000 climbing its famous 83-metre-high tower every year.

Commenting on the award, the Revd Alyson Buxton, Team Rector of the Parish of Boston, said: “We are delighted to have this significant vote of confidence from the Heritage Lottery Fund about the project ‘A Passion for People’ and its vision for the church and town of Boston. We long to continue to serve the congregation and community by completing our essential fabric repairs and re-ordering the church to make it as life-giving as possible for all who visit as well as offer a self-sustaining future. I believe this project will establish and root the sacred space of St Botolph’s as essential to the town and county for generations to come. We would like to thank players of the National Lottery for helping to make this possible.”

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “I’m thrilled that we are able to support St Botolph’s thanks to money raised by National Lottery players. The Boston Stump is an iconic landmark on the Lincolnshire skyline and this project will ensure the church continues to play a central role in the community of Boston for years to come.

“We’re proud to continue a string of National Lottery awards for Boston’s heritage, including funding for Boston Borough Council’s Townscape Heritage scheme and Boston Sessions House.”