A HEREFORDSHIRE church has won a £500,000 windfall to pay for repairs and host an ambitious public programme of heritage-based events.

The National Lottery Heritage Funding for St Michael and All Angel’s Church in Kingsland, near Leominster, will support its A Familiar Treasure in our Midst project.

Kingsland Parochial Church Council said the successful grant comes after 18 months of hard work by church representatives Jean Barbour, Peter King and Rev Julie Read, architect Fred Hamer of KODA Architects, and project coordinator Hannah Vernon.

Project manager Peter King said: “An incredible amount of effort has gone into the design and development of this project, and we’re looking forward to launching it in the New Year.

"We hope the activities and events will appeal to people of all ages and interests and will lift people’s spirits after months of coronavirus gloom!”

The church said one of many project highlights is the establishment of a ‘Benefice Maintenance Cooperative’, which is an opportunity for local volunteers to train and develop skills in historic building conservation and maintenance.

Training will be provided by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and people from all over the county will be welcome to join in.

The Diocese of Hereford will provide training to support Kingsland Church in becoming a 'Dementia Friendly Church’.

Project coordinator Hannah Vernon said since 2018 more than £600,000 has been raised, most of which will be ploughed into the local economy, after other grants from Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust, The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Trust and Worcester-based Eveson Charitable Trust.

She hopes the project will bring visitors to the area, with builders used and two part-time job created.