Plans to turn a round-towered church in north Norfolk into a community hub can now go-ahead, thanks to a 140,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
All Saints in Gresham dates back 1,000 years and the money will widen the use and enjoyment of the buildings and facilities to create an active community hub and heritage resource.
The funding will enable the Friends of All Saints Gresham to carry out urgent works of repair and improvement to the church buildings.
This will include the installation of a new rainwater dispersal system, external repairs to the north chancel roof, tower, windows and external walls and internal renovation including re-plastering the nave. Work is expected to start in the spring and take six months to complete.
The programme of events will include the creation of an online data resource for those tracing their family history, using information from the historic graveyard. There will be a children’s guide to the church, produced by pupils from Gresham Village School, and a series of lectures on local history focusing on areas connected with the heritage of the church and a programme of mixed arts courses for those who are sometimes overlooked in society. The churchyard will also be used by the school as an outdoor classroom and the church will be available as a concert and exhibition space for the community.
Julia Drury, chairman of the Friends, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we’ve received this support. All Saints Church has been an integral and iconic landmark within the village and the north Norfolk landscape for more than 1000 years.
“Now we can really believe our vision will come to fruition: the dry and refurbished church building will provide an enhanced environment both for church services and a wide variety of social, educational and cultural opportunities, for the community and visitors to Gresham, for the next 1000 years.”