Banks Renewables grant lets there be light at historic Hickleton church

December 15, 2015 | Community News

An historic South Yorkshire village church is easier and safer for visitors to access during the dark winter months thanks to a four-figure donation from a regional renewable energy firm.

The Parochial Church Council at St Wilfrid’s Church in Hickleton has installed a new LED lighting system along the entire north side of the building after receiving a £2,258 grant from Barlborough-based Banks Renewables.

The floodlit area covers the main car park for and entrance to the church, as well as a footpath that runs by the church and on into nearby woodland that is popular with local dog walkers.

Until now, the church has only had a single light in place, meaning it was often difficult for people to see where there were going in the dark, and there had been a number of instances where visitors has tripped over unseen obstacles.

The new lights automatically turn on as daylight fades, meaning there’s no need for anyone to do this job manually, and the PCC is hoping that they will encourage more people to use the church and attend the services and functions that are held there, especially during the darker winter months.

The Grade One Listed church was built in the mid-12th century, but it’s believed that the site was used as a place of worship as far back as Anglo-Saxon times.

Banks Renewables is the company behind the Marr wind farm, located to the west of junction 37 of the A1M, and this donation has been provided from the Marr community benefits fund, which sees part of the revenues generated by the wind farm used to fund community and environmental improvements that are identified in partnership with local people.

Over £30,000 has been given to local community projects from the Marr fund in the last four years, including donations to Hickleton Parish Council, St Peter’s Church in Barnburgh, and Barnburgh & Harlington Junior Football Club.

Father Carl Schaefer, parish priest at St Wilfrid’s, says: “Most of our visitors park their cars and enter from this side of the church, but without very much light around the area, actually getting into the building was a real issue, and it made it almost impossible for us to safely host anything during the evening.

“Not only do the new lights get rid of this problem at a stroke, they also make coming into or past the church in the darkness a much safer experience, and we’re hopeful that we’ll now get more people visiting us as a result.

“Getting these new lights has been on our wish list for some time, but with all the other running costs for the church to meet, that’s just where it would have stayed without Banks Renewables’ kind donation.”

Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at The Banks Group, adds: “We’re very pleased to help St Wilfrid’s PCC complete this important project, and to add their name to the list of local groups that have benefited from funding generated by the Marr wind farm.”

Any community groups in Barnburgh, Brodsworth, Hickleton, High Melton, Marr, and Sprotbrough & Cusworth that are interested in applying for funding from the Marr community benefits fund can find out more information about doing so by contacting James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342

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