St James and Emmanuel, Didsbury has won initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Emmanuel Church Restoration Project. Made possible by National Lottery players, the Victorian building in Didsbury village will secure urgent structural repairs, improved building access and transformed visitor information. Development funding of £23,000 has been awarded as St James & Emmanuel progress their plans to apply for a full grant.
Emmanuel Church, as well as hosting two Sunday services and regular free music concerts, is used as a meeting place for dozens of community groups and the not-for-profit ‘Home Cafe’, popular with its volunteers and customers. The lottery funding will address the deterioration of the Emmanuel building, with rain sometimes coming through the ceiling, and masonry and plaster decaying. Work will be carried out next year.
Team Rector, Rev. Nick Bundock, says “The congregations and many community groups who use this treasured building are delighted and thankful that we have received this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. With a full grant, we will be able not only to preserve the fabric of the building and protect our historic stained glass windows but also be able to extend enjoyment and appreciation for the history and life of the church as a community asset.”
Tom Swingler, Manager of Home Community Café says “It’s great that Home will be able to continue serving the local community from Emmanuel with this National Lottery support. It’s going to make a difference and help keep this place at the heart of the Didsbury community.”
Emmanuel is home to many fine stained glass windows including one by William Morris. The human story behind each window will be told to bring alive the Victorian era with its connections and contrasts to our age. Volunteers including school children will be trained to gather oral histories from the oldest members of the congregation, to preserve and share local memories for all. St James & Emmanuel will be raising partnership funding to contribute to the overall project, which is expected to complete by June 2019.