Church roof repair project set to start thanks to £5,000 Banks Group donation

February 27, 2014 | Community News

Long-awaited repair work to the roof of an historic Guisborough church is set to begin later this year thanks to a £5,000 donation from a North East renewable energy firm.

St Nicholas Parish Church in Guisborough has been targeted by lead thieves on a number of occasions in recent years, with significant damage being caused to the vestry of the Grade Two-listed building due to rain coming through the resulting holes in the roof.

A temporary solution was put in place to stop any further water damage occurring, with a fundraising campaign being set up by the Church to raise the £21,000 needed to pay for a permanent stainless steel roof, which would secure the fabric of the building while also being of no value to lead thieves.

Fundraising activities have so far brought in around a quarter of that sum, but now, a £5,000 grant from Banks Renewables, via its Banks Community Fund, has given the Church’s building fabric committee the confidence to schedule the start of work for September this year, with a view to securing the rest of the money needed in the intervening months.

The contract for the work will be awarded to a local firm, and the new roof will add to the facilities upgrades that the Church has enjoyed in recent years, including a new lighting system, new radiators, a new piping system and new boilers, which have predominantly been paid for through funds raised by the congregation.

Parts of St Nicholas Parish Church, which is the only Anglican place of worship in Guisborough, date back to the 14th century, with a substantial restoration in the early years of the 20th Century creating much of the building as it now stands.

The associated Church Hall is used for a wide variety of community events, ranging from Brownies, dance clubs and craft fayres through to a flower club, blood donor sessions and the Church pantomime group.

Beryl Jackson, grants secretary on the Church’s building fabric committee, says: “The lead thefts led to a great deal of damage to the interior of the building, and while the temporary seal we put in place has done a good job, we always knew that further problems would arise if we didn’t get a permanent solution.

“We’ve all been working hard to bring in the money needed to pay for the stainless steel roof, but getting this generous donation from Banks will make the difference between getting the work done before next winter sets in and risking further problems through having to wait much longer.

“We’ve now got a clear schedule in mind for when we expect the new roof to be in place, and are already looking forward to what it will add to the improvements that we’ve been able to make to the church in the last few years, which have combined to greatly improve the environment enjoyed by our congregation and visitors.”

County Durham-based Banks Renewables is the company behind the proposed Bank Field wind farm, which would be located to the north of Guisborough, on agricultural land on the northern side of the A171.

A community benefits package worth up to £85,000 per year, or £2.13m over the scheme’s 25-year lifespan, would be made available if the development goes forward, enabling Banks to identify and deliver a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people.

Part of this fund would be used to support a new scheme that would help break down the barriers to finding a job faced by unemployed people in and around Guisborough, which has been developed by Banks in response to comments received from local people about how they think the money ought best to be spent.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, adds: “In a climate where raising money for any community project remains a real challenge, the committee and congregation at St Nicholas’ have done a fantastic job in raising so much already for the repair of the roof, and we’re especially pleased that our donation has been the catalyst for the getting the required work done.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

Anyone who would like any further information about the proposed Bank Field wind farm should visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/bank-field or contact the Banks community engagement team on 0844 209 1515 (local rate call on a BT landline) or via bankfield@banksgroup.co.uk

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