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A Church Renewed

by glynch — last modified 23 Mar, 2017 11:00 AM

Blackmore Vale church to be repaired and enhanced for community use

A Dorset parish church is set to be transformed after raising £400,000 over three years of dedicated fundraising.

St Simon and St Jude in Milton on Stour will now be able repair the floor, pulpit, font and, more importantly, to bring about a complete transformation for the future use of this beautiful building.

Raising this formidable sum was made possible by two major grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Erskine Muton Trust, which between contributed £315,000 towards this project. Other significant donations came from The Matthews Charity, the Dorset Historic Churches Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Allchurches Trust.

Local church leaders say that none of that would have been possible without the fantastic support of and donations from the people Milton and surrounding communities which gave the fund raising effort unstoppable momentum.

Rector of the Benefice of Gillingham and Milton, the Rev’d Peter Greenwood, and Pioneer Vicar, Eve Pegler, said, “We want to use this massive investment to encourage more people to use the building, create interest networks, form friendships, welcome those who live alone and get to know our neighbours regardless of our different faiths and convictions, as well as providing new possibilities for worship and prayer.”

In addition to addressing essential structural repairs a reconfiguration of the building’s internal layout is planned so that it not only enhances the worshipping life of the church but also means that Milton on Stour CE VA Primary School and a wider range of community groups will be able to use the building throughout the week. The rear pews will be removed to form an auditorium and new heating, lighting, kitchen servery and toilet facilities will be installed.

It is envisaged that work will commence in the Spring and will take approximately 6 months to complete, under the direction of church architect Marcus Chantrey of benjamin+beauchamp.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the project £135,200. Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, and the tremendous fundraising efforts of the church and local people, St Simon and St Jude Church can now look forward to a secure and bright future as an integral part of the Milton on Stour community.” 

The Eriskine Muton Trust made the largest single contribution of £179,800. If you think your church could be helped by the Trust, which makes grants for Anglican church buildings in Dorset, contact Elizabeth Wallis at Church House, on 01722 438665 or

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