Church repairs bid gets £196,800

A church in the Pocklington and district area has received a massive boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

St John the Baptist Church at Wilberfoss was awarded £196,800 for urgent roof repairs and other vital work to ensure the future of the building.

However, the award makes up just 61% of the cost of the repairs and the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is appealing for support as it looks to raise the extra £70,000 alongside the usual expenses.

The urgent work will see the chancel re-roofed, along with external repairs, which will see the ground lowered and damp courses added to the church.

St John the Baptist is an important community meeting place with 40 parishioners regularly turning out for the Sunday service.

They will soon be met by scaffolding around the church and inside as the vital work gets underway next month.

Rev Aysha St Giles said: “We would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for the generous award.

“We would also like to thank everyone who put the successful award application together. Thank you all.

“This application was needed due to the church being classed as ‘at risk’.

“The work needs specially designed scaffolding and that is what is holding up the work at the moment.

“The work starts the day after Easter Monday and is expected to take around six months. The front of the church, the chancel, will be out of action and screened off.

“The organ will be wrapped up very carefully and be out of use.

“The chancel roof situation is very serious, which is why the HLF decided to give the church the money.

“The builders are going to do the internal work first to secure the structure and complete external repairs. That’s phase one.

“Phase two will see the whole of the south isle from the main door where we come in dealt with.

“There’s so much damp where we come in and the wooden pews in the area will have to be removed.

“The ground outside the church will have to be lowered quite significantly and damp courses put in so the building is protected in the future.

“It’s a huge job to put things right and it does mean I can’t do weddings as it would not be fair on the happy couples to turn up at a church clad in scaffolding.

“Normal Sunday worship will continue. We should be able to carry on uninterrupted.

“The church is the only place of worship in the village so if we lose it there will be no place for people to attend key services such as funerals.”

Anyone who would like to join the church’s fundraising campaign can call 01759 388339 for more information.