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 The BIG Church Project consists of three working Groups, that are focused around the future use and development of the Parish Church. These areas are:
 
Restore: Focusing on the restoration of the fabric of the building. At the moment we are concentrating on raising the money to fix the leaking roof and some dodgy high-level masonry, restore the Georgian plasterwork and add some roof insulation. If you would like to help in any way please email projectrestore@bfpc.org.uk or phone the office on 01258 456260.
Re-imagine: Focusing on the internal space and how this is used to the glory of God.
Re-engage: Focusing on our engagement with the wider community & how we can better serve those around us.

Lottery Grant

Members of the Blandford Parish Church Big Church Project are thrilled to have been awarded a grant of £664,400 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It means there are now enough funds in place for the roof of the church building, which has been leaking and continually patched up over the decades to stop the water coming in, to finally be given the total overhaul it needs. While scaffolding is in place, work will be carried out to repair high-level stonework, to restore and repair the damaged plaster inside the church and to insulate the roof..

All the repair and restoration works will be documented through a community photography project, which will be displayed in the church and online for those interested in what's happening but cannot unfortunately be allowed to climb the scaffolding..

The building work will start in October and is due to be completed in May 2022.

The money will also allow for the development of even greater community engagement with the building.
Sara Loch, chairman of the Big Church Project, the group overseeing the project, said :"Without this grant we would not have been able to proceed with the repairs, or the forging of even stronger links with our local community. It will be wonderful to make the church building water-tight after so many years and make the space, both the church and outside in the churchyard, a vibrant community resource."

Stuart McLeod, Director England - London and South at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, described it as an ambitious project to restore the important community-gathering building so that it can be enjoyed for many years to come.

He said "Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this two-year project will deliver an exciting volunteering programme to record ad explore the stories of those who have been connected with the church through the centuries as well as engage a wider range of people with this historic building."

Alongside the repair work there will be research, exhibitions and events, developing and expanding over the years, to make the church building a place which contributes to a thriving local community.
An exciting project is researching, recording and exploring, with the help of volunteers, the lives of those who have been connected with the church and will include Hannah, "a Black Woman Servant of Mrs Holder" who was baptised in the church in 1770, and George Vince, a Blandfordian who died by falling over an ice cliff while on one of Scott's Antarctic exhibitions.

It will also investigate the relationship between the church and various communities, including travellers, and the making of Georgian costumes

The resulting information will be shared with the church and town communities, and visitors to the area, in exhibitions, events and workshops, not just in the church building but also in Blandford Town Museum and Blandford Fashion Museum.

With the support of Dorset Wildlife Trust and Caring for God's Acre, the biodiversity in the churchyard, one of the main green spaces in the centre of town, will be monitored, and there will be improvements for wildlife.
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The various pieces of graffiti to be found throughout the building will be recorded and, where necessary protected during the project, and a "Tag-a-Tile" scheme has been launched to give everyone the chance to leave their mark on the church building. Their name or suitable message will be recorded in perpetuity on the underside of new roof tiles replacing those which cannot be reused after all the tiles on the roof are removed to allow the repair of the wooden battens beneath. Contact us for more information on "Tag-a-Tile".


The Big Church Project - History and Diversity

As part of the Big Church Project we are researching the 'Hidden Stories' of people associated with the church.  An example of this is this fascinating blog written by Judith Ford. Read the article here.

Explore Churches

Click here to find out more about Blandford Church on the Explore Churches website.

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Tina Stanley, 12/06/2019