St Nicolas’ launched its appeal to replace its failing 1960s electric heating system last weekend; the present boiler (normally concealed within the box by the north door) is pictured. We had good local media publicity ahead of an open day on Saturday and local radio coverage on Sunday. The Church Council had to consider on Thursday that the budget of £52 000 (to connect gas and put in a modern boiler and radiators) may be an under estimate, and that the architects’s detailed costings for the re-roofing of the south aisle is a further £20 000. The church has £11 500 but may need to identify a further £65 000 to £70 000 if it is to go ahead with both projects, and the welcome odd few hundred pounds now coming in or promised from special events only dents this sum.
What depressed me yesterday is the huge effort it may end up having to put into unsuccessful funding bids. I met with the agent of one grant making body who suggested the wide range of backing information which would need to support our case that there is significant community benefit to what we plan to do, but also suggested that this case might not be strong enough when looked at alongside other bids. This means a significant amount of voluntary time will have to be put in which may simply turn out to have been pointless.
And it isn’t just the church which is facing this sort of dilemma. Yesterday we learnt also that the local authority would back the one secondary school in the parish as its bidder for a significant tranche of extra Government money to tackle low aspirations (as mentioned here on 15th May). The bid has to be one in which the school, the local authority and the community are jointly engaged and I’ve been recruited to be the community campaign leader. The first outline has to be submitted by 3rd June (so almost all the work on it now has to be done over Half Term!). But over sixty local authorities are entitled to bid from which only fifteen projects will be chosen, so here as well a lot of work may not result in any money coming in.