Our appeal for funds to replace the church roof has produced a magnificent response. Many thanks to members of the congregation, residents of Menston and further afield, and fundraisers who have organised events, who have given so generously and have currently raised £113,735. Trusts and Foundations we approached for grants inform us that, in the current situation, they have less funds than usual to disburse, so we have been disappointed in their response to our grant applications. Nevertheless, we are very grateful for grants totalling £16,500 from Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust, the Garfield Weston Trust, AllChurches Trust, the Spooner Trust, and the Diocese of Leeds.
When the Fabric Fund reserve, accumulated over previous years, is included, this means we have exceeded our target of £140,000 set in January 2020 which was the estimated cost of full replacement of the church roof at the time. So, well done and thank you all!
But, and I am afraid it is a big ‘but’, building and materials costs have rocketed by 40% during the pandemic and, we are advised, are likely to continue rising sharply. The PCC were, therefore, dismayed to find that an estimate from the contractor in October 2021 had risen to £201,000, and the contractor could not agree a contract at this price as there is a delay of 5-6 months between ordering and delivery of the required slates, and building costs would rise over this period.
The PCC have deliberated the way forward and feel that we need to get on and do something. Continuing to fund-raise while chasing a moving target results in too much uncertainty, risks losing some time-limited grants, and is disrespectful of our donors who have given so generously during an uncertain time. So after lengthy discussion and consultation with the architect and contractor the PCC have agreed :
* To order the slates now. This will require some financial outlay immediately, but the contractor will take delivery and storage space will not be required at the church.
* When a delivery date is known and pending, the funds available at that time will determine precisely how much of the proposed works can be undertaken without jeopardising the overall integrity of the roof. At that point we will be able to agree a contract at a price we can afford.
The PCC, as trustees of the charity, believes that this plan will satisfy the requirement to make best use of the funds raised while also ensuring that the majority of the roof is replaced in the summer of 2022.
In the meantime, the appeal remains open, and further donations will be very gratefully received. The more we raise now, the greater proportion of the plan can be fulfilled.