Sunday, 3 October 2010

St John's Preservation Group - WATERPROOFING WORKS - £16,000 FUNDS NOW AVAILABLE

At the St John's Church Preservation Group committee meeting on 7th September (our first committee meeting which was also open to the public) we agreed unanimously to 'go for it' and use £2095 from our reserves to make up the £16000 we needed to raise to waterproof St John's Church. This decision was made possible by the £3000 donated by Mr Richard Whitehouse a few weeks ago. Without this money we could not have risked using our reserves as we would have been left with no reserve at all. We have a policy of reserving 10% of all earned and donated income against contingencies and future replacements/renewals. We are also very grateful to Mr Bill Wilkinson who donated £2000 so that we could open the office/drop in centre next door to the church in May. The drop in is proving to be invaluable as a contact point and place to bring donations.
We have notified the Diocese that the funds are now available and we are awaiting a reply regarding the next steps to be followed. The 'faculty', the permission needed for work to take place on a church building, was granted a year ago so we are hoping for a short time line - certainly we want to see St John's waterproofed for this winter.
We are now, for a short time, (we hope), allocating all funds raised to reinstate the reserves, before we can move on to the next appeal.
We feel this is a good time to mention that no-one in the Preservation Group has as yet ever claimed any expenses ie petrol, bus fare or telephone. Those who volunteer have considered these costs to be an extra donation to the cause.We have no paid staff. Please keep sending your donations, raising funds for us and bringing clothes, shoes, tombola prizes etc to the drop in. Without this regular support we can't operate and we massively appreciate every single donation.
Many thanks again to all who have helped to raise this £16,000 - the list is too long to mention here but a list will be prepared. This has been a real community effort involving individuals, pubs and clubs and a loyal local media who have followed our efforts to Save St John's very closely. This is the first step in a long process of saving and restoring St John's - but it will be done and the good news still is of course that the last survey in January 2008 confirmed that the building is repairable and did not need to have been fully closed to the public. Our next aim is obviously to get the building re-opened even if only for a few hours a week.

More good news here. English Heritage have now approved the fitting of a Pulsar Lightning Conductor to St John's subject to agreement regarding how it will be fixed to the tower roof.
A Pulsar Lightning Conductor protects the whole building whereas the more traditional lightning rods as fitted now (but broken) protect only the tower and one third of the rest of the building. The building has no lightning protection at all at the moment.

We are now awaiting arrangements for the churchwarden to give access to the contractor to gain access to the tower roof, from inside the tower to see how the Pulsar can be fitted - whether a tripod will be needed or if a roof fitting is possible.
The Lightning Conductor will be funded by a £5000 grant from Dudley MBC Central Area Funds Committee.

The feasibility study is very behind schedule. We are still working with the consultants and St John's Church Steering Group on the contents and wording of the questionnaire. The delay has been partly our fault with slow responses due to us trying to consult widely, which has been difficult with key people who we wanted to speak to being away on holiday. As at when we do agree the form (which shouldn't be long now) we will need an ARMY of volunteers to deliver the questionnaires and fetch them back, and very quickly if we are to pull back some of the time slippage.
Please email if you will be willing to help.

VICTORIAN SOCIETY ARTICLE - The Victorian Society, Birmingham & West Midlands Group - Autumn 2010 Newsletter ON ATTACHMENT

Big thanks to the Birmingham and West Midlands Victorian Society for their loyal support for our cause. Please read the article in the current magazine which is on attachment and consider joining the society if you have an interest in Victorian and Edwardian architecture. St John's Church dates from the Victorian era.

Link to the Birmingham and West Midlands Group

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