West Torrington is a small rural village on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. We have lost almost all of our indoor spaces but are determined to try and save our church from being lost to the village and beyond. It is the last chance we'll ever have.
Our only village indoor space at present is a bus stop, that no bus stops at!
But we need a proper community centre back. Our church, the Church of St Mary, is currently on the market with planning permission to convert into a house. Owned by the Diocese of Lincoln and closed almost a decade ago when the villagers at the time were told it would never be converted into a house. We have always harboured the dream of being able to get our church back to use as a community building. Unfortunately planning permission was applied for without re-consulting the village, as we would have told the Diocese that we wanted to purchase it, and it was granted in June 2020.
West Torrington Community & Heritage Action is an unincorporated association, that arose as a result of Parish Meetings about the situation. If we are successful in our bid we will convert to a Community Infrastructure Organisation as that is a form of registered Charity that can hold property for the public benefit.
The Committee members are: Victoria Lunn, Richard Wendel-Jones, Demelza Hoban, Steve Irwin-Banks and Sue Heron. Whilst at present the Crowd funder needs to be set up under one of our names, the organsation has robust governance in place to ensure we all have oversight and scrunity of it.
If it is sold to a private buyer rather than our community group, this last public indoor space will be lost forever to the village.
We can't offer anywhere near as much as a residential purchaser, as we don't require the residential planning permission. We do hope though that we are able to show the Church Commissioners and more widely within the Church of England that the only moral and ethical sale, even if it's the lowest offer, is to return it to the community.
We need this space back to support our community, tackle rural isolation, provide educational opportunities, hold events & services, and run a community shop. In addition, we'd encourage third party providers to support all of the above aims, by making sure the church is a welcoming and flexible space whose use can be maximised for the benefit of the community both near and far.
We've had a church in the village since the 12th Century, and it's loss from the literal centre of our village would be devastating to us.
The Church is known as St. Gilbert's other church, due to his reputed association with it. One of the founders of the Oxford Movement and the Order Of Corporate Reunion, Rev. Thomas Wimberley Mossman, was the Vicar here from 1862 (when the church was restored through local subscription) and presided over the use of Catholic traditions within this Church of England Church.
We are therefore fundraising to put a bid in for the church to be a multi-use community centre.
The tender period is very short and we need as much help as possible to support us to protect our heritage and not take away the heart of our village.
We have made a comprehensive business plan to support this and have had some fantastic pledges of support. The video we've included here has been created by some of the villagers to help explain what the Church means to us and why we want it to be our community hub.
In setting up this Crowdfunder to help with our fundraising aims we hope that as many people as possible feel able to support our village aims with a donation to save this truly special place for the public benefit both now and for future generations.
If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact us via our website www.WestTorrington.org.uk , Twitter @WestTorrington or Facebook @WestTorrington