Historic Northwich Church en route to fundraising

THE oldest building in Northwich is asking for help raising funds for a much needed upgrade to its facilities.

The parish church of Saint Helena, arguably the most beautiful building in the city, has been at the center of the life of the local community for over 600 years.

In recent years, the Grade 1 listed building has been made available for a wide range of community events and activities.

Plans are now in place to provide new facilities to make the building better equipped and even more welcoming to the community at large. In the foreground of these plans is the construction of a new kitchen and a new service within the church.

Ken Moth, vice chairman of the Parish Church Council and a member of the church for about 20 years, said the plans were part of a much larger project known as “Promising Future” with this necessary first step which is estimated to cost in the region of £ 70,000.

Ken said, “A lot of hard work has already gone into fundraising.

“£ 25,000 has been pledged by church members and grant applications and initial fundraising raised an additional £ 20,000 and the final £ 25,000 is now to be raised.

“An excellent design suitable for a listed building has been produced and all necessary consents have been granted.”

The interior of the parish church of St Helens.

Ken went on to say that the church is very popular with the townspeople, not least because Northwich doesn’t have a lot of old buildings, which is another reason to improve the facilities.

He added: “Northwich doesn’t have a lot of great works of architecture or even a lot of old buildings because everything was collapsing from the brine sag.

“It’s an amazing building and there has been a church there since the 1290s.

“The building that’s there right now, some parts of the fabric are from the 1350s, most of it around 1500, but it’s a spectacular building.

“What ‘Promising Future’ says is that this building belongs to everyone in Northwich, whether they are Christians or faithful to the church.

“It’s everybody’s church and actually the people of Northwich say, ‘this is my church’ – that’s where my grandfather was baptized and things like that.

“We want to make the church available for all kinds of different things, so we need the building to have the right kinds of facilities.”

“It’s basically about trying to serve the community and make better use of this amazing building.”

Other aspects of the larger project include improving the online presence of the parish, such as the use of social media, as well as installing an excellent audio and visual system in the church, which allows for disseminate the services online.

This modernization helped after the church was shut down for several months at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which Ken said proved difficult for everyone.

He said, “The real word ‘church’ means a group of people, coming from all walks of life.

“To be deprived of that, and of the pleasure of going to a Sunday service, was hard, especially for our vicar, who is a real human person.

“He suddenly found himself separated from his congregation.

“As soon as we could resume, we did, and although we wondered if people would come, they did.

“We’re a big church here, so we’ve been able to distance ourselves socially and we’ll have 50 to 60 people on Sunday morning.

“The most vulnerable members of our congregation who are protecting themselves at home have been able to use online streaming.

“We can’t sing in church at the moment, but we have the organ playing, and although we can’t socialize in the building at the moment, we can do it in the cemetery afterwards.

“It’s tough, but it’s tough for everyone right now.”

If you would like more information or would like to donate, please contact Ken Moth – [email protected]

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