A Covid-19 recovery grant from Historic England kickstarted a major new lease of life and a successful fundraising drive for further renewal at a village church.
St John’s Ryhall, a Grade 1 listed building in the Diocese of Peterborough, had 28 roof leaks, blocked drains and was damp and cold.
An earlier fundraising drive was cancelled due to Covid-19, while bad winter weather had exacerbated existing damage.
The church was awarded £11,000 from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the Government’s Culture Recovery fund, to help sites hit by Covid-19, to repair its drains, pipes and gutters on its roof.
Rainwater was damaging the walls, and repair work was vital before roof renovation could take place.
The grant provided a springboard for the church to apply successfully for a series of grants from other organisations – and led to further fundraising in the community that eventually paid for a new roof.
Parochial Church Council member Sandra McCune, who heads the church’s restoration and renewal team, said the improved environment and increased community involvement had led to a renewal of the church.
A team of ‘churchyard champions’ who began work under Covid-19 restrictions has been crucial, she said, acting as ambassadors for the church.
“We now have children coming to church again, a growth in the congregation and baptisms and confirmations due to take place later this year. As a Christian, I find that wonderfully encouraging,” she said.