20180209_152857 (Medium)The people responsible for caring for St Augustine’s church building and churchyard are the PCC (Parochial Church Council). To contact them please visit www.alstonmoorcofe.org.uk

The church has a few problems that need dealing with:

The problems:

  1. The tower roof leaks terribly, in some storms so much water pours through the thickness of the walls, the tower stairs are more like a waterfall!
  2. The church building is very cold and draughty for most of the year, the pews are narrow and hard – if we want people to feel at home here, they need to be able to take of their coats and feel comfortable.
  3. Few people use the church building and churchyard because there are no facilities and the layout and furniture put limits on what can be done here.

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The project:

The name Rekindling St Augustine’s builds on the Alston Aspire project in 2012. The steering group feel it is time to act and bring light and warmth back to life in St Augustine’s.

The vision reflects the aspirations of the people who will be working towards it to achieve their ambitions for the future of their church.

A welcoming, warm, light and sonorous church building and churchyard that supports the Alston Moor community to serve their needs, hosting people who come together to improve the quality of their own lives and increase the wellbeing of others.

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Description of project

The mother church for Alston Moor parish is its largest community building, and distinguished by tranquillity, illumination beauty and acoustic quality.

Dating back to at least 1152AD, the building and verdant churchyard have long been a locus of this community, but use has become sporadic in recent years. Leaking roofs and walls, hearty draughts, inadequate heating, austere seating and the absence of even basic facilities, make it uncomfortable, precluding many activities especially during winter.  Some local residents live with social isolation and poverty, and the Parochial Church Council want to help people from across Alston Moor to improve their wellbeing.

Collaborating with other initiatives, local people will be trained in the energy-efficient renovation of the building and conservation of the churchyard. Rekindling this place’s historic function for social cohesion, the churchyard and building will become more welcoming spaces, reconfigured so people can meet comfortably while improving skills and knowledge, access public and health services and gain respite in tranquillity. Led by a group of parishioners delivering their Christian mission of serving their community, this project will help grow the self-reliant abilities of Alston Moor to “sustain life and live it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Costs & timescale

The repairs to the church building on their own would cost several hundred thousand pounds, and the ambitions for increasing the activities, improving the churchyard and restoring the bells all add significantly to that figure. The church has some small reserves, but will need to apply for grant funding to secure the large amounts needed. A small grant from the National Churches Trust has allowed us to develop plans during winter and spring 2018 and the Plans Afoot event on May Day 2018 introduced the plans to the Alston community and asked for their thoughts and opinions. These will feed into an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in summer 2018, with their response expected in the following autumn.

 It ended with chips!

The congregation of St Augustine’s welcome everyone into the church, and even without the proposed improvements, we are have a small programme of events during the summer as part of the art exhibition. In 2017 we had a beer and hymns evening – captured here by Simon Danby http://www.simondanby.com