St James and Emmanuel, Didsbury, has received a confirmed National Lottery grant of £211,400 for the Emmanuel Church Restoration Project, it was announced today.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project will make urgent repairs to the south roof and external walls, improve the front access to the building and deliver a range of activities and resources to bring the heritage alive to the wider community.
The project supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is now able to start work on fixing the leaking roof and restoring crumbling stonework, protecting the treasured and beautiful stained-glass windows. The access ramp at the front of the church will be remodelled for safety and ease and the area carefully redesigned. A range of activities are now possible to make the most of the heritage of this church at the heart of Didsbury village. Volunteers will be trained in collecting the oral histories from our older members of the community, recording memories and stories that would otherwise be lost forever. Keen local history volunteers will be working to provide guides to the finest windows, including the human history behind them. And the church will now be open with exhibitions on local Heritage Open Days, alongside the sister church of St James.
Emmanuel Church is host to dozens of community groups as well as the prestigious Coffee Concerts on Saturday mornings. It holds the Home Community Café every week day which is a charity run by volunteers and a popular meeting place for families and friends.
The building goes back to the mid-Victorian period when Didsbury was a rapidly expanding suburb in Manchester’s transformational age. It is home to many fine stained glass windows, including one by William Morris.
Commenting on the award, Revd Nick Bundock said “we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the HLF, it is going to transform what we are able to do in future years. Emmanuel Church sits at the very heart of our community but the leaking roof is threatening not just the heritage of this grade II building but also future plans to open it up to new users. Thank you to the HLF for helping us preserve and develop this important heritage asset.”
Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West said: “North West England has such a diverse range of churches, each one reflecting the social history of its community as well as the influences upon the architecture. Emmanuel Church stamps a sense of identity on Didsbury, while providing a venue for worship and many other community activities, so HLF is delighted to give it support.”
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.