At the beginning of 2010, the congregation moved into the Church Hall for 6 weeks; a substantial piece of wood had fallen from the ceiling and it was thought that maybe the handmade nails from 1701 were no longer up to the job and all that was needed was for the wooden sections of the ceiling to be further attached. However, when this was tried it was found that there was nothing to nail or screw the sections to, so the Civil Engineer was called, an infestation of Deathwatch Beetle was found and the church closed to the public; the ceiling was structurally unsound. The 6 weeks rolled into 7 years, and the handmade nails from 1701 ... well, they were fine and still doing their job!
The whole project will have cost approximately £1.3million and without the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund we would not have been able to reopen the Church building. The project was divided into 3 phases as we had 3 ceilings to restore/repair; it took approximately one year to apply for the grant, have the drawings made and raise funds for our portion of the cost; the following year the work was carried out.
This pattern was repeated twice more and we officially re-open on Sunday 2 July 2017 at 3pm.
In order for this historic building to continue into the future, we want it to be used by many people and groups. Yes, the Church is primarily for workshop and all other Services - Baptisms, Weddings, Anniversaries and Funerals - but we want this wonderful building to be more widely shared. In order to maintain the building we need it to raise money for itself. We have reordered the area towards the front of the Church which is now covered with a wide platform which we hope will be perfect for concerts and many other projects, bringing new life to the building and helping to keep it open for the future.
As part of accepting the Heritage Lottery Grant we agreed to open the Church to the public for 40 days a year for 10 years, so I would like to ask those who are interested in this type of thing ... would you be interested in being in St Oswald's Church on some of those advertised days to be around, to chat with people and try to answer people's questions etc? If yes or maybe, then please contact me as I would love to hear from you. Training and notes would be given and we will learn together as we go along.
Canon June Steventon Rector of St Oswald's Church, Winwick
How much did it all cost? Total cost of the restoration of the ceilings £1.3million Grants £918,586 Fund-raising £33,438 Donations £92,912 The remainder came from Gift Aid, VAT refund and our Virgin Giving fundraising site
We still have approximately £38,000.00 to pay and during the past 7 years we have not been able to pay our full Parish Share of £4,250.00 each month to the Dioceses which means that we still have a very large debt. Parish Share is really important: each Church of England Church pays a "share" to the Diocese which covers most of the costs of the clergy's pay, pension, housing and training and support for Church Schools. The Share is all about shared Ministry and Mission.