The new Community Hall at the extended and renovated St Mary’s Church in Sandsend was recently opened by Lord Normanby.
The celebration event was attended by more than 100 people, mainly from Sandsend, but also including representatives from external grant funders who supported the £200,000 project.
St Mary’s faced an uncertain future in mid-2016 after a survey had highlighted the need for repairs, but there was no money to pay for them.
Project manager Adrian Wood said: “Initially, a figure of £25,000 had been estimated for some of the more basic repairs, but it soon became clear that the cost of repairing the existing building fully would be at least £70,000, without starting to look at any of the community aspect.
Following a consultation within Sandsend, the St Mary’s Appeal Committee comprising six residents launched an appeal not only to repair St Mary’s, but also to create village hall facilities within the Victorian church building.
This was to enable it to be used for village events, social gatherings and receptions, lunches and dinners, children’s parties, exhibitions, keep-fit and other classes, while securing the future of St Mary’s as the village church.
The North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme funded the majority of the cost of the new extension and disabled toilet, together with a new entrance porch.
Yorventure, through funds generated by Yorwaste Ltd, paid for re-roofing, the insulation of the roof, and for a new heating system.
The Normanby Charitable Trust, National Lottery Awards for All, and the Sirius Minerals Foundation all made significant donations to the project.
Howdens Joinery donated and fitted the kitchen, along with other building materials. Sky Scaffolding provided scaffolding free of charge.
“We are so very grateful to our external funders and individual donors,” said Ralph Bagnall-Wild, another member of the appeal team.
“Without their generous assistance it would not have been possible to deliver this tremendous community facility.”
Malcolm Lloyd, a member of the St Mary’s Appeal Committee which raised the funds for and project managed the building work, thanked the almost 200 individual donors and the external grant funders.