Where better to go on a school trip seeking adventures than a small island 11 miles off the North Devon coast, once home to pirates and eccentrics, called Lundy. The island is home to 26 residents and has over 17,000 visitors each year. Lundy's unique position within the Bristol Channel means that it is exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean and since its completion in 1897, St Helen's has been subjected to extreme weather conditions leading to its current state of disrepair. This iconic building stands as a beacon on the horizon for thousands of visitors arriving on the island including the many school children. Without your vital support this historic building could be lost forever!
Around 350 school children visit this little isle to explore the island's natural wonders, including the largest seabird colony in the southwest, discover a wealth of marine creatures in its rockpools and seek out the many clues to its varied history such as St Helen's church, the Old Lighthouse and Benson's Cave. The only place for shelter, during periods of inclement weather (rain, wind, hail), is St Helen's church as it is the largest building on the island. Presently, the building is not suited to engage educational groups and does not provide the facilities that would enhance and support their visits the island.
"St Helen's is where we introduce our school children to letterboxing, searching out their first one in the shelter of the peaceful building. It's also where we stop to discuss why people come to the island - walking, bird watching, bell ringing, climbing and for the tranquility of the place, leading to a much calmer group of children for the time we stay over. I'm really excited about the plans for the church, as a purpose built education centre would be extremely useful in helping the children learn about the island and soak up the atmosphere of the building." Julian Thomas, Headmaster, Georgeham Primary School
Our vision is to create a centre, that does not only act as a refuge during periods of bad weather, but also act as a centre for educational groups to utilise during their visit to the island. However, St Helen's is is in need of considerable repair and refurbishment.
We have been successful at getting through Stage 1 of Heritage Lottery Funding and are approaching Stage 2. We need your support to make our vision of making a new centre and providing overall the project needs to raise £400,000.
Overall we need to raise £200,000 to reach the Heritage Lottery Fund target, of which £62,000 is being raised through this appeal which will be used to support the changes need to the internals of the church to support educational groups.