St Mary’s Church in Bentley, is celebrating the completion of a four-month long renovation project that has seen the installation of brand-new community facilities.
The church received funding from the National Churches Trust to carry out works which will provide vital facilities to its community.
The Grade II-listed building underwent renovations to create accessible toilets and include baby changing facilities as well as a modern kitchen kitted out with an oven and cooking equipment. Bury St Edmunds-based businesses, Valiant & Son and Whitworth Co-Partnership worked together to carry out the works.
The Revd Annette Shannon, Rector of the North Samford Benefice, said: “We are extremely grateful for the funding we received from the National Churches Trust, without it and other private donations, works like this would not have been possible. This is a great example of churches adapting and moving forward to ensure they are inclusive and accessible for all members of its communities. COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives and while this year has been particularly tough on everyone, we are thrilled to share some good news and even more excited for members of the community to make use of these excellent facilities".
In addition to the kitchen and toilet facilities, new windows were fitted to the north of the church, a Sunday School room was created and a modern organ was installed.
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. During the coronavirus pandemic churches are doing so much to help vulnerable local people and boost morale. Many churches need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities to ensure their buildings can continue to be used well into the future. But the cost of this work is often far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves. So, I’m delighted that St Mary’s Church, Bentley is being helped with a £10,000 National Churches Trust Grant. The work on the installation of toilet and kitchen facilities into the church will help secure the future of a historic building and help it to better serve its community.”
St Mary’s Church is currently operating for private prayer only due to the COVID-19 national lockdown that came into force on 5 November 2020.