St. Mary’s Wins The Lottery

Saturday, 26th September 2015

Churchyard Group
Churchyard Group

St Mary’s Church in Moseley has been awarded a £69,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to revitalise its churchyard so it will become a focal point for the whole community.
The large churchyard at the back of the church on St Mary’s Row is the only piece of public green space in the village but has too often attracted negative headlines for anti-social behaviour.

Now the HLF grant will enable the church to improve its paths, replace a broken gate leading to the village green and provide information boards detailing the church’s history. A heritage trail and education packs are planned for schools to introduce younger generations to the churchyard. A nature trail is planned to improve biodiversity in the churchyard.
“We’re delighted to receive this grant,” said St Mary’s associate vicar, Rev Hazel White. “It will enable us to put the churchyard back at the heart of the community, where it belongs. We want to remind all Moseley residents that we can all share this wonderful space for spiritual contemplation, performances or even a spot of lunch.”

Areas of interest in the churchyard include the damage caused by German incendiary bombs in December 1940, which were dropped in an attempt to damage the adjacent train line and the well-preserved grave of Joseph Lucas, founder of Lucas Industries. The churchyard was deemed full in 1981 when it was designated as “closed” and the responsibility for its upkeep passed from the Church of England place of worship to Birmingham City Council.

Churchwarden Peter Jupe said: “We have a vision of making a sacred but open space in the centre of Moseley. It has been clear for several years that extra work is needed to keep the two-acre site as pleasant and welcoming as the church itself. While volunteers and church staff have worked to pick up litter and cut back the weeds, major work is needed on the pathways. The HLF grant will allow wheelchair access throughout the churchyard. We hope in a few years, the churchyard will be able to host exciting events like live performances. It’s even possible that the popular Moseley farmers’ market might be able to extend into the churchyard through a newly fitted gate.”

Reyahn King, head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “This project will restore and tell the story of the historic churchyard of St Mary’s, enabling more people to enjoy its tranquillity and discover more about the church’s history.”

Now HLF funding has been secured, St Mary’s expects that work can start before the summer. The Project officially launches on 27 June at an Open Day event in St Mary’s Church and Churchyard – where you will have the opportunity to discover what the Project is all about and how you can get involved.  Enjoy a guided tour of the site, art displays by local school children, live music, family craft activities and cream teas. The Open Day also forms part of the successful Moseley in Bloom’s ‘Open Gardens’ weekend.

More information will be available on St Mary’s website over the coming weeks www.moseleybenefice.org.uk

“From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk