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Survey shows drive to modernise St Mary’s has public support

The ongoing drive to repair and modernise St Mary’s church in order to expand its usefulness to the wider community has significant and widespread support from the public, according to recently released survey results.

A poll of roughly 600 people who passed through the church since the installation of its informational touchscreen shows a clear inclination for the building to be restored as both a place of worship and a venue for community events.

“We’ve always felt we were on the right track,” said Rev Jim Barlow, Team Rector. “But it is very comforting when you have the public giving you their seal of approval.”

The survey was conducted by Freeline GFX of Exeter, using a programme installed on the large touchscreen in the exhibition area of the church.

Some of the more interesting findings were:

  • The single biggest suggestion for what the church should offer is a community café.

  • The putting on of fairs and festivals also garnered a significant number of poll responses.

  • Not surprisingly, the staging of dramatic productions also drew a wholesome response.

  • Given the historical importance of Totnes as a town, it was no surprise that a large number of respondents were interested in the history of St Mary’s going all the way back to Medieval times.

The survey also shed light on the interesting demographics of those who pass through St Mary’s, with a quarter of the respondents considering themselves tourists. Foreign visitors accounted for 5 per cent of the poll takers.

John Birch, chair of the Trust, expressed satisfaction at what he saw as a public endorsement of the group’s efforts.

“Our goal has always been to provide an inspiring, fully useable and fit-for-purpose place for worship, music and the arts to serve the community of Totnes - and now we know that goal sits comfortably with the public we are seeking to serve.”

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