Clever communities help to save churches

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Forest Row’s historic parish church could be maintained thanks to a new Lottery-style money-raising scheme.

Holy Trinity and St Dunstan’s Ashurst Wood need about £70,000 every year just to keep them from deteriorating. Like many other churches they are unable to pay their own way and have been borrowing money from the Diocese of Chichester. But parishioners put their heads together to come up with an innovative cash-raising scheme.

Revd Angela Martin said: “Not everyone goes to church but this is open for all local people. Money raised can help keep the churches at the centre of the villages so supporters can win prizes but help their communities too.”

They can buy £10 tickets for the Forest Wood 100 Club for a chance to win three monthly prizes representing half the money - the other half goes to support the churches. Rev Angela went on: “It’s a fun and exciting way to involve the whole community in helping to keep these historic buildings alive.”

The Forest Wood 100 Club is an innovative way forward, she believes and will make a huge contribution towards the churches’ upkeep. “If we are successful and can build up a reserve we can give some to other schemes, such as to help maintain the village hall.”

Organisers hope to build up to a maximum of 500 tickets sold. Each goes into a computerised lottery system and the draw takes place on the last Tuesday each month. Proceeds will first cover costs of general maintenance such as heating and lighting, licences, health and safety checks and insurance. Information: www.frawcechurches.org.

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