ARCHDEACON HEADS EFFORT TO FUND

CHURCH REPAIRS AND ESSENTIAL STUDY

Members of the St John’s Church, Kates Hill, Steering Group headed by the Venerable Fred Trethewey, Archdeacon of Dudley have undertaken to work together more closely in an effort to secure funds for essential repairs to the church building and for a feasibility study which will assess options for the future of the building and is also essential in order to gain access to larger funding bodies .

St John’s Church building was closed in 2002 on safety grounds but has since been shown by two separate surveys to be repairable. The St John’s Parochial Church Council, The Diocese of Worcester, English Heritage, St John’s Church Preservation Group and the St Thomas’s Ward Councillors are now working together to find the necessary funds to start on essential repair work.

Steering Group Chair The Ven Fred Trethewey “We are continuing to work towards engaging suitable consultants for the feasibility study and we have applied for the granting of the necessary legal permission to commence work on the rainwater goods and roof repairs. In addition we are now stepping up our efforts to locate suitable sources of funding.”

Deb Brownlee, chair of St John’s Church Preservation Group “The granting of Grade II listed status was a major plus in terms of helping to prove the case for saving and restoring St John’s Church building but funding is not automatic even for listed buildings and we have a long hard task ahead of us to raise all the funds we will need. The support from the members of the St John’s Church Steering Group is most welcome and indeed essential if we are to succeed. Equally important will be support from local people who we urge to dig deep and start donating towards the restoration costs”.

The group need to raise an immediate £16000 for the waterproofing works which will see windows sealed, guttering repaired and urgent roof repairs carried out. A further estimated £15000 is needed for the feasibility study ‘The Future For St John’s Church’ which will look at architectural changes which can be made to the building in order to accommodate community use, legal, planning and environmental issues and whether or not there is demand for the building to continue as a place of Christian worship.

The total restoration cost including redevelopment, heating, rewiring, redecoration, re-instatement of the unique glass windows and stonework repairs is estimated at £941,000 over ten to twenty years.

Possible uses for part of the church building include a Post Office, Sweet Shop selling Teddy Grays sweets, a Gift Shop, Meeting Rooms, Cafe and Community Radio.

The St John’s Church graveyard contains a wealth of local history including the graves of the Hansons Beer family, The Tipton Slasher, Marion Richardson and numerous war heroes including a Dambuster and further research is underway to prepare the church to be a local tourist attraction.

Donations are urgently requested towards the restoration of St John’s Church building and should be sent to St John’s Church Preservation Group, The Old School House, St John’s Road, Kates Hill, Dudley, DY2 7JT.

Further information regarding St John’s Church Preservation Group and St John’s Church Steering Group can be found on the website www.savestjohnschurch.zoomshare.com

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