Project opens Norfolk churches to community
2010: Historic churches across the Diocese of Norwich
will be open for longer and more available for community use through the appointment of a new officer responsible for the Churches Discovery Project.
Jennie Hawks (pictured right) has been employed by the Diocese of Norwich to support historic places of worship in the Diocese in a post part-funded by English Heritage, the Government’s lead adviser on the historic environment.
She will be responsible for the Churches Discovery Project and the new post is part of a national English Heritage scheme to offer support to congregations which care for historic buildings.
Jennie Hawks will develop a strategy for the long-term support of Norfolk and Waveney's historic places of worship and will help individual congregations to understand, care for and make best use of their buildings.
Jennie said: “I will be responsible for the Churches Discovery Project, which aims to ensure a sustainable future for the historic places of worship in the Diocese of Norwich and within their communities. I'm looking forward to giving support to churches in openness and welcome to visitors and pilgrims, and in promoting heritage.”
The Archdeacon of Norfolk, the Venerable David Hayden said: “In the Diocese of Norwich we have more wonderful medieval churches than anywhere else per person per acre in the world. They have been there as part of the community for hundreds of years and have so many stories to tell.
“The church members, and others in the community, have worked so hard to maintain the churches. It is a huge achievement and we are so grateful for the commitment of hundreds of people. We now want more people to discover the wonder of these building.
“The Churches Discovery project will seek to get our churches open Monday to Saturday, as well as on Sundays. Just opening them for worship on Sundays gives the impression that they are only for the worshipping community. They are not. We want the rest of the community and visitors to see what they have to offer.
“Just as we prepare our churches to welcome people on Sundays so we want to enrich the experience of people coming to our churches during the week. We also recognise that more of our churches need to have basic facilities of a small kitchen and WC and some of our churches need reordering to open up the nave for wider use by the community.
“The Churches Discovery Project is a huge undertaking and we will need many people across the diocese to catch the vision for the potential of our churches. We are very grateful to English Heritage who are supporting this project financially and are our partners in taking it forward."
Diana Evans, Head of Places of Worship Policy at English Heritage, said: “We are delighted that the Diocese of Norwich has appointed Jennie Hawks to carry out this very important work. We hope that, with our support, they will be able to help congregations to understand and care for these important buildings.”
The Support Officers project, part of English Heritage’s on-going Inspired! campaign, was launched in December 2008 by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham. English Heritage will part-fund 30 Support Officers to help congregations of all faiths all over the country.
English Heritage will cover 50% of the total costs of a Support Officer post for three years. It will encourage the professional development of individual Support Officers and jointly agree objectives with the partner organisation, which as the employer supervises and benefits from the Officer’s work.
The Churches Discovery Project will be launched at the Hostry, Norwich Cathedral on Wednesday 21 April at 4.30pm.