Here at St Peter's we have tried hard to bring our church into the 21st century and ensure its sustainability into the future with investment in new lighting, a sound system, ringing chamber, kitchen and new gates in recent years. But the external walls date back many centuries and are made of soft sandstone which erodes all too easily over time.
In 2011 the Diocesan appointed architect who inspects the condition of the church every 5 years reported that the time had come to repair the sandstone masonry before its deterioration became so serious that the church would not be weatherproof or safe.
In 2013 we launched an appeal to raise the funds to repair the tower and walls, but inevitably it will be expensive given the need for scaffolding and specialist skills. We have advertised and the lowest tender came in at about £235000 with VAT (hopefully recoverable) and professional fees on top, making a total cost of £300000. This is far more than the funds available to St Peter's though we do expect to contribute what we reasonably can.
We were given the official "Permission to start" by the Heritage Lottery Fund and this allowed us to go out to tender for an architect who would manage the project. We have also sought quotations from other professionals such as quantity surveyors. PCC agreed on the appointment of Stephen Oliver as architect and project manager and we have also appointed other advisers (see below). We then put together detailed specifications for the work needed which in turn allowed us to advertise for contractors. Following a competitive tender we have provisionally appointed Splitlath Building Conservation Ltd of Hay on Wye. In December 2014 we heard that we had been awarded £190,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund and this together with other grants (including a net £44500 from WREN Landfill Trust and £4000 from the Coventry & Warwickshire Historic Churches Trust) ) plus our own fundraising allows us to go ahead with the project. We are on course for actual work to start in March 2015 and to be completed by the end of September.
The following have been appointed to the project:-
Architect and project manager - Stephen Oliver of Rodney Melville & Partners (Leamington)
Quantity Surveyors - Greenwood Projects
CDM (Health & Safety) - Construction Project Safety
Measured Survey - Midland Survey Ltd
Contractors - Splitlath Building Conservation Ltd
The measures we have taken or are taking include:-
- A grant request to a fund run for English Heritage by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We heard in October 2013 that our first stage application was successful which meant that we could proceed to the development phase where we obtained quotations for the work needed and prepared for the full grant application. To get this far is very encouraging as only about a half of bids get through at this stage. The second stage application for funds to meet the costs of restoration was successful and we heard that we had been awarded £190,500 in December 2014.
- Fund-raising activities. We have had several activities in 2014 including a weekend festival in June (details below) and a Winter Fayre with concert on 25th October . .
- Increasing awareness of the unique heritage of the church with its history, beautiful building (grade 2* listed) and place in the life of the village of Dunchurch. On 13th September 2013 there was a Heritage Open Day with guided walks around the church. Another Heritage Open Day was held on Friday 12 September 2014 with exhibitions of Dunchurch history, the story of glove-making in Dunchurch and drawings and pictures of the restoration work to be undertaken. Chris Sarson would be happy to repeat his walk and talk to any group interested in the history and features of St Peter's.
- A sponsored run. Justin Brown, who lives in Dunchurch, kindly agreed to be sponsored for the appeal when he took part in the 10km "Wolf Run" on 8th September 2013. This raised well over £1500 including Gift Aid.
- Ensuring that the young people of the village and local community have a better understanding of the church and its heritage. Local cub packs visited the church on 20 and 21 October 2014 to learn about its history and help them towards their history awareness badge.
- The production of a new booklet, prepared by Freda Bennett, on the history of St Peter's.This is now available and copies are held in the church - cost just £2.
-The appeal was awarded a donation of £1000 by Dunchurch Festival Committee which is great news and both encouraging and generous. Thank you!
-The sale of special St Peter's Christmas cards (thanks to Margaret and Robert Mercer) raised £141 for the appeal.
- The Restoration Appeal Festival in June 2014 was very successful, both in raising money (over £12000 including donations) but also in welcoming so many people from the local community to our church. The many stalls, flower displays, tea and coffee and children's activities proved a great draw and we were very grateful to the Mayor of Rugby for opening the 3 day event and for our MP in attending and helping launch parachuting teddies from the tower. Two well attended concerts were held in the evenings and the Bishop of Warwick led us in Festival Songs of Praise on the Sunday.
A further event was held in October 2014 with craft and gift stalls, tea, coffee and cakes and a concert from Ocho Rios in the evening.
- In August 2014 we heard that the WREN Landfill Communities Fund had awarded us £50000 towards the costs of the project.
-We are also very grateful to have been offered a grant of £4000 by the Coventry and Warwickshire Historic Churches Trust.
- We are hoping to make repairs to the interior of the church by the West door entrance, involving renewal of crumbling plaster, boxing in pipework and improving the tiled floor. It is anticipated that our contractors for the main project (Splitlath) will complete this work while working on the exterior. We have been awarded grants of £5000 by the National Churches Trust toward this work and a further £5000 by Garfield Weston Family Trust. We are very grateful to these.
- The project will start on 2nd March 2015 and contractors will be on site and scaffolding will be delivered from that week. The project was completed on 16th October apart from some work on the West Door and entrance vestibule and general snagging.
Follow this site to keep up with what is happening and the progress of the appeal.
Cheques to "St Peter's Dunchurch PCC" and sent to Chris Sarson at "Hastings", Leamington Hastings Rugby CV23 8DZ or to Revd. Malcolm Garratt at 11 Critchley Drive, Dunchurch CV22 6PJ