A joint fundraising effort between St Helen’s church in Stickford and its local community has resulted in them raising a very impressive £49,000. The funds will enable the church to install a much-needed water supply, a disabled toilet and a servery. A £13,000 grant from the National Churches Trust gave them the final amount they needed to go ahead.

These simple resources will enable the church to hold even more community events as currently water has to be carried to St Helen’s for refreshments and flower arranging and similarly dirty dishes have to be taken back to people’s house to be washed. The lack of a toilet is particularly restrictive.

The project has been led by the local community who have raised £3,500 from events held in the village under their ‘Water in the Church’ campaign which started in 2015. “Local people were shocked when they found out that we had to carry water to the church during our flower festival in 2015 and this is what started the ball rolling to change that” said Cheryl Steele, PCC Secretary.

Whilst thinking about the benefits of running water the team at the church also decided to look at what else could be made possible with extra funding. Now their plans include not just installing water, a disabled toilet and much needed storage space into the church tower but relocating their book shop so that the sunny position it occupies can be utilised as a space in which to serve drinks. A door will also be reopened which has always been shut due to the absence of the key!

Cheryl said: “We are all very excited about the building work starting as we want the church to be seen as a building for everyone in the community and to reach out and engage with others who live in our community, not just those who go to church on Sundays.

“We already host lots of craft fairs, concerts and the village Christmas party and we hope to host more things after the work has been completed so that will be wonderful. Applying for grants is a lot of hard work but we are extremely grateful to the generosity of all those organisations who could share in our vision of what our church could be with the addition of a few simple resources. 

The church also received grants from Awards for All (National Lottery), Marshall’s Charity, Garfield Weston Foundation, Lincolnshire Churches Trust and AllChurches Trust.