Final push for church funding

VILLAGERS are entering the final funding phase to provide extra community facilities at their church.

Parishioners in Hartburn have spent about three years trying to raise around £250,000 for work to the 11th Century St Andrew’s Church.

And now they are just about £50,000 short of their target, with hopes of reaching it through grant bids in the next few months.

If all goes to plan, work will start this summer to install ground-source heating and a disabled toilet.

The project is being led by the Parochial Church Council.

Parish councillor Peter Heatherington said: “We have got a project to update the interior of the church to use it as a community venue for events because we don’t actually have a venue for these things in the village at the moment.

“We have a project to raise funds for that work, specifically to be able to install ground-source heating to give us some sort of background heat in the church, and we have got plans to install a disabled toilet.

“We are hoping to be able to use the church in the future to host more local community activities because people can’t always afford to get into Morpeth or Newcastle for various activities, be they cultural, health or all sorts of things.”

The community has secured the bulk of the money required for the work through legacies and fundraising, including at the village fete.

And organisers are confident that the final push could be just around the corner.

“It is about three years now since we started this and we have some more grant bids in at the moment to try to bridge the small gap of £50,000,” said Mr Heatherington.

“We were hoping to have all the money together last year, but with the current economic situation some grant funding money was no longer available as easily, or it was much more restricted, so it has taken longer than we anticipated to get to the final target.

“However, we would hope to get our full target in the next two to three months so we can make a start on the work in the summer.”