‘Help us to raise the roof’ is the plea from a church community in Sausthorpe, who have taken the brave step of committing to a 10-year debt of thousands of pounds to secure repairs to a historic landmark.
It was back in October when villagers who wanted to see St Andrew’s Church thrive for future generations gathered in a chilly Sausthorpe Institute to be told the harsh reality of their plight.
Repairs to the slate church roof are expected to cost £115,000 but, with dwindling congregations, the predicted annual income from collections at services has been about £600.
The church has been able to secure a Government grant of £90,300. However, it needs to commit for 10 years that it can pay building insurance should disaster strike – and that is estimated to be £3,000 a year.
An appeal was launched in October and following a second public meeting the decision was made by the church council to go for the restoration.
Canon Peter Coates said: “The appeal raised £300 which helps the process along. With backup from the Diocese we have taken the plunge and have taken on sufficient insurance cover to enable us to utilise the grant of £90,300 from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Fund.
“We are in the process of putting together all the tenders, permissions and extra funds that are needed to start the restoration of the roof.
“The people of the church realise that this will mean a big effort on their part to make it work and would like to encourage people to help them raise the roof.
“St Andrew’s is a local landmark which is at the heart of the community. It has been a place of worship for many generations and it would be sad to lose it over one short generation.
“Our villages still give life to the community. We need to revive them because if we lose the heart it will be a tragedy.”
A number of fundraising events are being planned. The community can support the church at its Family Service this Sunday at 11.15am and at its next fundraiser, a coffee morning at Rose Cottage in Sausthorpe on March 19 from 10am to 12.30pm.
Anyone wishing to make a donation can contact the Rev Canon Coates at The Vicarage in Church Street, Spilsby, or call him on 01790 752526.