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St Mary’s Church Restoration Project awarded £100,000 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Totnes Heritage Trust, working in partnership with the Totnes with Bridgetown Parochial Church Council, is undertaking the restoration and renewal of St Mary’s Church and, with lots of local support, funds for the project have been steadily growing.

Now, thanks to hard work and perseverance, the Trust and PCC is delighted to announce that the project has received initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the St Mary’s Church project, made possible thanks to National Lottery players.

Development funding of £100,000 has been awarded to help progress the development plans leading to an application for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.

The project, after completion of the development and building works, aims to create an inviting interior to enable the church to be used for a wide range of community events.

The works include installing:

  • a new floor to replace the Victorian floor which is collapsing and dangerous

  • a much-improved sustainable heating arrangement

  • flexible seating options to enable the church to be used for a wide range of community activities

  • introduction of toilets which are currently sadly lacking

Another central part of the project will be activities to engage the community of Totnes and its visitors with the town’s rich heritage. This will include activities that will vary from volunteering opportunities such as working with the less advantaged to guided heritage walks for all ages and abilities.

It is hoped this engagement will empower the local community in taking an active role in recognising and caring for the town’s rich heritage.

Examples of the project’s activities include:

  • Involvement of young people in the building project involving the documentation and filming of the works.

  • Churchyard environmental project involving a cross section of the community.

  • Community groups working with schools on heritage outreach projects

  • Courses and activities for the disadvantaged with a view to helping with employability

  • Heritage engagement activities for families during school holiday

  • A range of activities for all ages and abilities including guided heritage walks, photographic exhibitions and art sessions

  • Involving older members of the community in heritage and art projects

St Mary’s Totnes is a Grade 1 building that has been central to the town, physically and socially, for hundreds of years. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, its renewal will enable more people than ever to use this wonderful building.

Commenting on the award, John Birch, Chair of the Totnes Heritage Trust said we are delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

‘Our proposed activities have over 20 partners in place and the grant will enable us to connect the community socially, economically and culturally,`' he said.

“People need a place on this scale and a reason to come together: our project provides both as well as boosting the high street and encouraging more tourists to Totnes which will benefit the town’s economy."

Totnes Team Rector. Revd. Jim Barlow said he was delighted.

“It is a big step towards the reordering of this wonderful and much loved church and the NLHF development funding will give the necessary momentum to secure the full funding to deliver the main phase of the work.”

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