Despite that church attendance is dropping, churches and churchyards remain a symbol of many villages, towns and cities. They represent some of our most attractive and cherished historic buildings. The drop in church attendances means that many are in a state of disrepair. This is no better demonstrated than in the churchyards of the countryside. That is why in 2016, many have received HLF grants for their repair and upkeep. The most recent is Penarth’s St Augustine Churchyard. They recently received an £8,000 grant to restore the stones and grounds and encourage more visitors to their green spaces.
St Augustine Churchyard Vital Cash Injection
The project managers have three essential main aims for the project work at St Augustine Churchyard now that the grant is approved.
- Enhance the natural environment and preserve the environmentally fragile spaces (it’s home to some rare plants, and to native birds and insects)
- Restore, preserve and conserve the grave stones in most dire need of repair. Some are broken, weather-worn and dangerous for visitors
- Promote the churchyard as a green space to encourage visitors, school groups and for people to simply sit and enjoy the peace and quiet
The problem is that some of the churchyard is overgrown. It’s not unique in that respect – this is a story repeated at historic churches and churchyards across the country. With dwindling parishioners and finances (especially for older churches), the burial grounds are often the first casualties.
The £8,000 grant for St Augustine Churchyard is particularly welcome in 2016. The present church building is 150 years old, although older churches existed on the site before this. A number of events have already marked the occasion in 2016. HLF cash, continuing to prove itself vital to local communities, feels like the icing on the church for this important Welsh church.