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OTTERY:Church awarded a £10,000 grant for urgent roof repairs

Thursday, 03 July 2014

Ottery’s Grade II-listed United Reformed Church is to receive a £10,000 National Churches Trust (NCT) repair grant. The grant will be used for urgent roof repairs, including re-slating. NCT’s latest round of grants saw a total of £330,000 being allocated to 21 places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland. NCT chief executive Claire Walker said: “Many of the churches and chapels we are helping in this funding round serve small rural communities. “All too often, churches and chapels are the only community building left in a village. Keeping them open and in good repair is vital for local people who use them not only for worship but also for social and welfare activities.” “For many people, the beauty of village churches is one of the most attractive features of the UK’s heritage. However, keeping them in good repair is usually way beyond what a small village can afford. “That’s why the work of the NCT and other funders in supporting church buildings is so important.” The Ottery church was started by a renegade vicar from Talaton, Robert Collins, who joined other clergy in defying the political control exerted over the church in the 17th century. In 1662 he started an independent church of dissenters, meeting in the family home, Chanters House. As result of which meant he was fined and imprisoned in Exeter Gaol. He suffered a breakdown and eventually was forced into exile in Holland for his faith in Jesus. An NCT spokesperson said: “On his return to Ottery in 1688, he found that a church had been built as a meeting place for his congregation. It is today one of the oldest non-conformist churches in England. “Inside the church, in the early days a trap door allowed the preacher to escape from the militia who were sometimes in search of dissenting ministers.” The church is used by a number of community groups and the Ottery Food Bank, run by Churches Together in Ottery, is based at the church. Huw Edwards, broadcaster and journalist and vice-president of the NCT said: “The NCT’s £330,000 repair and rescue funding will safeguard the future of 21 places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland and strengthen local communities. “National Churches Trust grants will help pay for urgent repairs to crumbling spires, leaking roofs and ancient drains, helping to bring some of the most beautiful and historic churches and chapels back to their full glory. “National Churches Trust grants will also fund a range of projects to install kitchens, toilets and improve access for the elderly and people with disabilities. This will help churches and chapels become welcoming community hubs that can better serve the needs of worshippers, community organisations and visitors.” United Reformed Church secretary Lorna Mackie was unavailable for comment on Monday morning.


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