St. Swithun’s Church, East Retford
St. Swithun’s is a large, Grade II* listed, town centre church. It has a small, elderly congregation which struggles to raise the necessary finance. However, the church is valued by many in the town, particularly the Civic Society which provides much practical assistance, and the church is well used for such things as art exhibitions and concerts. Some years ago, it was decided the building should be made more versatile and better suited for use in the 21st century. Before that could happen, the basic structure would first have to be brought into good condition and so we applied to English Heritage for grant assistance. We were very pleased to be offered a substantial grant towards the repair of the nave and south aisle roofs (approx 30% of the total roof area) but we were still required to find a significant amount of funding ourselves. This was quite a problem on top of our fundraising for normal church expenses, so a £5,000 grant from NHCT was very helpful. Eventually, work started at the beginning of June 2010 and was completed at the end of January 2011, being delayed because of the severe weather in December 2010. It is now a treat not to have to put buckets out in a major part of the church whenever it rains!
St. Swithun’s has been the fortunate recipient of other invaluable assistance from NHCT. In 2008 we received funding towards urgent tower repairs after some of the pinnacles were found to be unsafe, and the following year a grant was received towards the installation of a disabled accessible toilet in church. We do very much appreciate the assistance given by NHCT, and on our behalf, members of our church scout troop try to put something back by taking part in the annual Ride and Stride.