Community church opens doors

ST HELEN’S Church in Burgh on Bain has been converted into a centre for the whole community to use.

Burgh on Bain has no pub, no village hall and no shop where villagers can meet and chat.

As the village, which includes Girsby, is spread over a wide area, many villagers never meet up with their neighbours and live in virtual isolation.

When a survey was taken an overwhelming majority of villagers agreed that the village church should be adapted to become a centre for the community.

The church of St Helen has stood in the village for hundreds of years, the tower being supported by an arch built by the Normans soon after the invasion in 1066.

Water has never been laid on, so this was a priority – together with installation of drainage.

An area had to be cleared of pews to allow for freedom of movement and flexible seating and the old central heating system required a new boiler and extra radiators to be installed.

This area then had to be tiled to match up with the main floor of the church.

Disabled toilet facilities were installed as well as a kitchenette.

Permission for all these changes had to be sought from the diocese as the church is a Grade II listed building.

Raising money for the project involved several fun nights when stalls were run by villagers, competitions and raffles took place, and donations were invited.

In addition, grants were sought from many organisations in order to raise a total of over £48,000.

The following organisations donated funds for the project: the Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service, Lincolnshire County Council, National Churches Trust, Allchurches Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

East Lindsey District Council was very supportive and gave much valuable advice and County Coun Hugo Marfleet and District Coun Daniel Simpson organised generous donations to enable equipment to be bought.

Lincolnshire County Council will present a plaque to mark the opening of the facility on Saturday, April 28 at 1pm.

All those who contributed to the project and all local residents are invited to attend.

Now the centre has been completed, it is hoped the village will make the most of the opportunities which it offers.