All Saints is an important historical building and a ‘local treasure’, strategically located at the point at which the Pilgrims Way crosses the River Medway. A church has stood on this site for over a thousand years and is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1066). It was placed on the English Heritage ‘at risk’ register in 2014. There is a need for around £500,000 worth of repairs to be carried out, but about £250,000 worth is urgent.
In December 2015 the PCC was offered an initial first-round development grant of up to £25,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This money was for the Development Stage of an urgent repair project which would hopefully include repair to stonework above the chancel arch, on the tower, in some of the windows and at the entrance, all of which were in a seriously deteriorating condition, and also a strengthening of the floor of the ringing chamber.
In conjunction with these repairs, the project also aimed to develop an Activity Plan to make the building with its historical features and spiritual resources more open to the wider community and better utilised. The engagement and support of the community was essential to the success of the project.
The Development Stage funding was awarded to help the church progress plans to apply for a full grant in December 2016. The money was to enable a detailed study of the work needed and associated costs to be undertaken.
Before applying for a full grant for the Delivery Stage at the end of 2016, the church needed by the beginning of December 2016 to have carried out the preliminary investigations, raised around £35,000 in match funding, and drawn up a detailed Activity Plan. This was done, and the PCC now waits to hear from the Heritage Lottery Fund to see if a grant for the Delivery Stage will be forthcoming. If it is, the urgent repair work will be carried out during the summer months of 2017.