Landmark church scoops £10k from the Ride+Stride

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The damp inside the church (Picture: Tim Connor)
The damp inside the church (Picture: Tim Connor)

St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Blandford Forum has scooped £10,000 from the Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT) towards its £1.1m roof repairs.

The trust has announced grants to help repair eight of the county’s beautiful church buildings totalling over £40,000, in the first of three batches of grants to be made this year – all made possible by the great success of the annual sponsored Ride and Stride for Churches last September.

St Peter and St Paul’s, a major landmark in the middle of the town, is five years into a major restoration project.
Applications are in to 14 different funders, with more yet to be approached, but the DHCT’s contribution of £10,000 has been agreed quickly and can be used as leverage with larger national funds and trusts.

Anne Shire and Sara Loch, who are leading the planning of the work, said: “We are very grateful for the generosity of DHCT in providing a grant towards the latest phase of our church restoration, namely the repair of the roof and restoration of the original Georgian internal plasterwork. We have an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund pending for which we will hear the result in June, but meanwhile we will need additional funds and the grant from DHCT is a great contribution towards our goal.”

The Archdeacon of Sherborne, the Venerable Penny Sayer, said: “Those responsible for maintaining Dorset’s historically important church buildings need to know that there are sources of financial help when they have to carry out repairs. We know that working on listed buildings is expensive, and the support of the DHCT in helping to cover these costs can be vital.”

DHCT chairman John Stokoe said: “All the churches we support have great need and they all play a vital role in Dorset towns and villages, not just as places of worship, but also as community hubs. We are very grateful to all who took part in last year’s Ride and Stride, and those who sponsored them. They made this possible.”

DHCT has grant-aided maintenance work for churches and chapels of all Christian denominations in Dorset for the past 60 years. Total grants awarded over the last 5 years have averaged over £110,000 per annum. The priority has always been to assist with weatherproofing (roofs and stonework).

In recent years significant funds have been granted to assist communities to adapt their cherished church buildings for wider use. Further details of the work of the trust can be found on its website: dhct.org.uk.

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