TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION, NEIGHBOURS AND FRIENDS OF
ST. HELEN’S CHURCH, DRY SANDFORD
STATE OF OUR CHURCH (24 March 2019)
Last July 2018, we suffered a fall of masonry from inside the roof and called on our Architect to advise us. Structural Engineers and other experts were then brought in and to ensure the immediate safety of churchgoers two sets of scaffolding and netting were installed. It was discovered that after a lightning strike in 1961, the roof was incorrectly repaired making the majority of the weight press down and outward on the walls.
In November 2018 we were advised that the structural integrity of the roof was jeopardised and that this situation could only get worse. Furthermore there was a risk to all users of the Church. The PCC then asked Quantity Surveyors to tell us how much repairs would cost and in late January 2019 we were given the heavy news that to repair the fabric of the building and reslate the roof would cost in excess of £500,000 – an enormous burden for all of us.
Since then we have been consulting with our Architect and of course with the Diocese. The Bishop and Archdeacon are not only well aware of our situation but are actively supporting us. Their technical experts will be working with our Architect to see if we can undertake the work in stages which might make it easier to find the necessary funds.
At the end of last month (February 2019) the PCC had to make the terrible decision to lock the Church. Safety is the paramount responsibility on the PCC in a situation like this and we were very mindful of the fact that the Church is regularly used by boys from Cothill House and by children from Dry Sandford Primary School. We absolutely cannot take risks with young lives in this situation.
Fundraising on this scale is an enormous challenge and the PCC is setting up a team to develop a plan which will not only tap grant making charities, of which there are many, but also call on the Dry Sandford community to contribute their ideas, their contacts and their skills. This group will also aim to keep the wider Church community abreast of what is happening and what is planned. All this takes time and we ask for your patience as we develop a suitable strategy.
On Tuesday evening, 30 April 2019, St. Helen's Dry Sandford held its Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM/AGM) in the Dry Sandford Primary School. At the meeting, Robert Montgomery, Architect, presented the details of the structural issues with proposed options and approximate costings of repairs. It was noted that there has been a new fall of masonry inside the Church building. Fundraising through grants and charitable donations were also discussed with the announcement that a Fundraising group (reportable to the St. Helen's Dry Sandford PCC) is being formed with the mission of raising needed funds for the repair of the Church. A Capital Campaign has begun wtih an initial goal to raise £260,000 in the first phase of a restoration project to repair the walls and install a toilet. This will allow us to open and use the Church building. After that, there will be a second phase to repair the roof which will require an additional £250,000-£300,000.
If you would like to donate to St. Helen's, we encourage you to complete a Pledge Form towards the Restoration Project, and/or a Gift Form to help us cover our daily operational costs. We thank you for your support.
If you would like to contact us with suggestions, help us with fundraising or have questions please email us at [email protected]