Derbyshire church gets £5,000 grant for improvements

Hilltop Methodist church Bolsover.
Hilltop Methodist church Bolsover.

A much-loved Derbyshire church is to share in a £290,000 funding payout from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church buildings support charity.

A £5,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund the church to enlarge and re-equip the current small kitchen at the Hilltop Methodist church, Bolsover, helping the church to better serve its local community.

Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage. But to

survive, many need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities. The cost of this work is far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves.

“So I’m delighted that the Hilltop Methodist church, Bolsover, is being helped with a £5,000 National Churches Trust Grant. The work to enlarge and re-equip the current small kitchen, will help the church to better serve its local community.”

Hilltop Methodist church opened in 1896 Originally the church had a balcony, but this was converted into a meeting room and an additional extension was added to the building in 1991.

In 2008 the church established the Freedom Community Project to offer to reach out and support and guidance services helping people with a range of issues such as grant and benefit claims, unemployment benefit problems, housing applications, debt counselling.

The grant will enable the church to enlarge and re-equip the current small, cramped kitchen in order that they can open the community support centre five days a week so that people on the edge of society can have access to support services when they are required.

Rev Sean Adair, Superintendent Minister at Hilltop Methodist church, said:

“The church had been ‘bursting at the seams’ with much-needed community work over the past decade, and the building itself, particularly the kitchen was now in need of refurbishment.

“During the recession in 2008, our church members realised they had to look outward and do more to help the community; things weren’t good and a lot of people needed some help. Bolsover has suffered a lot, both economically and socially, since the pit closures began in 1993.

“Over decades this had led to poverty, a lack of confidence, low expectations and little social mobility. Much of the work in Bolsover these days is temporary and the poorest people don’t have cars; transport to work or study elsewhere is limited and too expensive for many.

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“We established through the Freedom Community Project a free café for anyone affected by social isolation. From this, church members & volunteers really began to understand the depth of poverty in our area and the many and varied needs of people who had received no, or very little, support for years.”

“The grant from the National Churches Trust will help us expand our much needed free café facility as we aim to meet the needs of our local community and we thank them for their generous support.”

A total of 48 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK.

Last year, the National Churches Trust helped support 202 projects with grants of £1.2 million. 23 churches and chapels were removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in 2018 with the support of the Trust’s grants.

Churches and chapels open for regular public worship (i.e. more than six services a year) and in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands can apply for a grant from the National Churches Trust. More details at www.nationalchurchestrust.org/grants