Ashby church heritage centre wins community award

St Helen’s Community Heritage Centre which celebrates the heritage of the medieval church at Ashby-de-la-Zouch has been announced as winner of the 2018 Rural Achievement Awards for the category of Best Community Building.


The awards are given by the Rural Community Council (RCC) to recognise projects which have a positive impact on rural communities across Leicestershire and Rutland.


Helen Smith, from the St Helen’s Heritage Project, said: “We were one of three finalists. The award dinner was held on 11th October and we were delighted to be announced as winners of the Best Community Building award.


“Our thanks go to Chris Lewis for writing our submission, and to him and Susan Boardman-Weston for meeting the judges when they visited the site earlier in the year.”


The Heritage Centre is a well equipped modern building, with a catering kitchen and displays telling the stories of the medieval heart of Ashby. It was officially opened just over a year ago following renovation and extension of the Cottage in the churchyard at St Helen’s.


Read more about the project and how to visit the centre and church by clicking here.


Chris Lewis, also from the Heritage Project, said: “Not only is the building an asset to the community, it was created by volunteers with the church and local community being involved at every stage, including consultation, design, fundraising, support, soil shifting and decorating.


“The project has been made possible by funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, the Diocese of Leicester, grants from county and local authorities and a number of other grant sources as well as the amazing time, money and energy of the people of Ashby.”


The centre is now used by church and community groups and is regularly hired by individuals and local businesses for a variety of activities.


The Heritage Centre is open to the public every Wednesday and Saturday morning.


“Our vision for a building being used by the whole community of Ashby is already being realised with groups using it from the Civic Society to mindfulness groups, individuals hiring it for special occasions and local businesses using it for their training activities,” said Julie.


“From the outset many people were involved in the project. As well as the project team of 30 individuals over the 9 years it took to develop and execute the project, many people from both the congregation of St Helen’s and the wider community have been and still are involved in ensuring that our building serves the needs of both St Helen’s church and the whole growing community of Ashby.”


The photo shows Chris Lewis and Helen Smith from St Helen’s Community Heritage Centre and Alan Kafoor, presenting the award on behalf of category sponsor, Norris and Fisher.

First published on: 5th August 2019
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