Heating and Access Project

The Challenge

In 2010, the heating in All Saints Parish Church failed irreparably. At that time, the system consisted of Victorian pipe work connected to an oil-fired boiler. The heating system was first installed in the Church in 1872, during the Victorian period, when the floor was lowered and pipes were laid beneath gratings in the aisles. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years the system has become more and more unreliable, expensive to run and prone to breakdowns. New boilers, a new oil tank and frequent repairs to the pipes have been needed.

The flooring, which has remained largely untouched for the last 140 years, has become a safety hazard and there have been a number of trips and falls as a direct result of this.

So, now we have an excellent opportunity to fix both heating and flooring issues, as well as making the church a much safer and more accessible place for everyone in the community.

As you will probably be aware, All Saints Church is a very old building with parts dating from the 14th century. Consequently it needs to be kept dry and warm at all times to protect both the stonework and the contents of the building, including the organ and the screen.

Thus we need a system that will allow us to keep the Church warm enough whilst also not costing the earth.

The Vision

For a long time we have been considering how we could make All Saints more welcoming to the whole community and more suitable for all sorts of different events.

The parish church is part of everybody’s heritage and should be available for the whole community and not just for those who come here on Sundays. We want to make it safer and more comfortable so everyone can enjoy music, drama, art, flower festivals and services without having to don winter woollies and blankets.

Flagstones, similar in style and at the same level as the original but with underfloor heating, will cover the current floor and so improve safety and access throughout the building, making our lovely church a better space for people of all abilities.

The heating will be powered by an external air source heat pump, which will allow us to maintain an even, comfortable temperature in the church, and hence maintain the building much better, more cheaply, with a lower carbon footprint and with a dramatic reduction in our energy usage.

Finally, photo-voltaic panels will be installed on the roof which will export energy into the national grid. These panels will not be visible from the churchyard (but if you went to the other side of the valley and used binoculars, you might be able to pick them out!)

How far have we advanced

In November 2013, we had 8.8kWp of solar panels installed on the South aisle roof. Since then, it has generated about 7.6 to 7.7 MWh (7,600 to 7,700 units) of electricity every year. In November 2014, we turned on our new air source heat pump. We have only installed some of the heater emitters in the nave, so it won't reach the design temperature when it is really cold outside: keep your coats to hand. The chancel and Choke chapel are finished though, so if you can sing why not join the choir? It already feels more comfortable and will start to care for the fabric, the organ and the 15th century screen. Watch this space for how it fares.

What comes next?

Now comes the next stage, making our lovely, spiritual building accessible to everyone who needs it, not just those who are fighting fit and ready for anything, whenever they need it. We have already received grants for £30,000 towards the access part of the project, from Awards For All and the Bath and Wells Diocesan Fund for Church Growth, and this has funded the works in January/February 2016 removing the steps in the North porch and at the North door, and replacing them with a gentle slope. Check out the Living Stones link or watch for more information on how we can open our church to everyone in the community.

How you can help

For this vision to become reality it will cost a lot of money. We are hoping to get most of this from grants, but we will still need to raise a sizeable portion ourselves so we are appealing for donations to help us make the church warmer, greener and open for all.

The church has been in use by the whole community since 1380. Can you help us continue this by donating £13.80 a month towards the project?

Everyone’s contribution counts no matter how big or small. If you are a UK taxpayer please sign the gift aid form and our fund will currently receive an extra 25p for every pound you give.

Please send your gifts to the church office and make cheques payable to "All Saints Church". You can also gift-aid your donation. Thank you for your support.

If you feel that you are unable to donate at this time but you would still like to help in some positive way, then please get in touch with Beki Lewis at:
beki.lewis@gmail.com