St Augustine’s is a Grade II listed church in Alston, situated high in the North Pennines. Alston is a popular stopping point along the C2C cycle route, the Pennine Way and the local Isaac’s Tea Trail. The church draws visitors with family connections and those with an interest in its history, not least the unique one-handed Derwent Clock it houses. Its notable organ and acoustics add to the church’s special qualities and appeal; it also has a significant carillon of bells, which are rung regularly, and the church features on the bell ringing circuit.
It is the project group’s ambition to equip the church as a more permanent space for community activities and visitor access, with a focus on being an artistic and cultural hub for the town. The group trialled this option through the Alston Aspire project in 2012, which built good links between the community and the church.
St Augustine’s came into the Inspired Futures project following significant repairs to the west wall, but still with significant repair needs and a lack of a way forward in terms of increasing the community use of the building. Inspired Futures support enabled them to obtain National Churches Trust development funding and employ consultants to undertake consultation with the community and develop a full options appraisal for the re-modelling of the interior. Successful delivery of the development project has put them back on track, and the church are now looking to apply for major funding to deliver the proposed transformation project which will also include a wider partnership with other groups across the community.
Through the project St Augustine's has secured:
- A National Churches Trust Development Grant
- A detailed Options Appraisal
- Development of Design Proposals to Stage 1 RIBA level
- Consultation and partnership development with the wider community in Alston
- A fundraising strategy
- Heritage Interpretation and pop up welcome display
- Capacity building and skills development through the development project