West Huntspill Church has this week received a £97,100 boost from the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards a major repairs and refurbishment project.

St Peter and All Hallows Church has received a ‘development grant’ for their ‘Saving the Heritage, Sustaining the Community’ project.

The £97,100 cash injection means the project team can now work with architects, conservators and the community to plan the project in greater detail.

An area around the tower is currently fenced off to prevent falling masonry injuring passers-by, as pictured here. The National Lottery’s support of this project will allow the tower to be made safe and ensure the future of the church in the life of West Huntspill.

“The project aims to celebrate the heritage of the church, a Grade 1 listed building, by providing a better welcome and interpretation of our long and significant history, and building closer relationships with different communities in the area, including disadvantaged groups and local residents,” said Project Co-ordinator David Lemon, pictured with his wife.

“This is the first of three phases enabling us to sustain the building for greater community cohesion and create a hub for village life.”

The project will tackle urgent masonry repairs to the tower; install essential toilets and a kitchenette; focus on the natural history and biodiversity in our graveyard and village including bats and a heronry, encouraging walkers from the nearby coastal path to visit, as well as local people to enjoy circular walks from the church to improve health and wellbeing.

The project also aims to deliver a programme of targeted activities for elderly and isolated residents, primary school children, young people, walkers, as well as local people and holiday makers interested in the history of the building and the village; and provide permanent interpretation and displays about the church in its parish.

An area around the tower is currently fenced off to prevent falling masonry injuring passers-by. The National Lottery support for this project will make the tower safe and ensure the future of the church in the life of West Huntspill.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds St Peter and All Hallows Church Tower Project has initially been granted round one development funding of £97,100 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals will then be considered by The National Lottery Fund at a second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £493,600.

Project Co-ordinator David Lemon said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this initial support thanks to National Lottery players.”

“This award means that we can start planning the project in detail before submitting our final application within the next 18 months.”