A grant for £10,000 has been awarded by IM Properties to The Friends of St Mary’s on the Heath, so they don’t have to spend a penny elsewhere.
The community group set up to restore and protect the Grade II listed, deconsecrated church in No Man’s Heath, requested the money from the Mercia Park Community Fund to add a public convenience, which the building has been without since it was built in 1863.
“St Mary’s is a really treasured community hub,” said Anne Campbell, who has written a book on the rich history of the building and helps runs the group. “But the lack of facilities is a real problem, particularly for the increasingly elderly population, who have to go to the local village hall if they get desperate.”
The Mercia Community Fund is a £350,000 Social Value pot set up by developer IM Properties to assist local communities surrounding its 238-acre scheme near junction 11, M42.
Anne added “We will be over the moon to get a new WC in place. We have been limited to the events we can stage in the building because of lack of facilities and now with the money to connect a water supply and sewerage, it will open up so many more possibilities.
“We really are the heart of the village with just 55 homes in No Man’s Heath and at Christmas, in particular, we dress all the church up and have a tree and everyone comes together, some from far and wide to join us in mince pies and mulled wine. It really is magical.
“In the future, we hope to stage fashion shows and wedding fayres. The church is such a beautiful setting and the building means such a lot to all of us in the village. Bigger events will mean we can keep funding the building, its on-going upkeep and enabling unrestricted access to old family graves.”
The Mercia Park Community Fund is managed by Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation and allocates in the main, grants of up to £5,000, primarily directed at projects which strengthen communities or improve the natural environment.
Kerry Amory who looks after IM Properties extensive social value programme added: “We developed the fund to have a positive impact on the local communities surrounding our scheme and who would believe that such a simple thing as getting a toilet installed would make such a difference.
“Clearly it’s a basic necessity and one that has hampered St Mary’s for so long. After the villagers fought so hard to keep the building when it was threatened with closure by the Lichfield Diocese, it’s only right and fitting that it should have a new lease of life and continue to be an important place to bring the village together.”
IM Properties is committed to delivering sustainable development across its business. Working in partnership with its occupiers and supply chain it aims to create jobs, skills and training opportunities, in addition to long-lasting social value benefits for the local community.
The next round of grants is now open for applications. For further information on the Mercia Park Community Fund visit https://www.llrcommunityfoundation.org.uk/apply-for-funds/mercia-park-community-fund-open/
For further editorial information, please contact: Jane Bolas, JBPR, Tel: 07721 504169