Returning a church to the heart of the High Street

St Helen’s Church in Worcester is making a return as the heartbeat of the High Street thanks to funding from Allchurches Trust and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Steps taken to increase the church’s visibility, as well as extend its opening hours, saw visitor numbers nearly double in 2018 compared to the previous year.

A colourful scaffolding wrap around the church during repairs, the development of a history timeline and an increased digital presence have also contributed to the growing popularity of this medieval church.

Now, after an extensive renovation, St Helen’s is able to publicise itself as a heritage hotspot for visitors to enjoy in partnership with Worcester City Council.

A grant from Allchurches Trust helped the 15th Century church to secure funding and make urgently needed repairs to its stonework. It is hoped the repairs will remove the church from the ‘heritage at risk’ register.

Stella Power, project manager at St Helen’s said: “Our grant from Allchurches Trust made such a huge difference. A vital part of securing our 'delivery stage’ National Lottery Heritage Fund grant was gaining match funding towards the project; without this funding from other sources, the project would not have gone ahead.

“Allchurches Trust were the first grant awarding body to pledge money towards our project. This gave us a real boost of morale to continue with our fundraising efforts and secure the project’s future.”

A colourful wrap commissioned by the church, which was designed by local students, coupled with an electronic noticeboard, helped create interest with passers-by, including tourists and local residents, while work was being undertaken. Future plans to move the entrance of the church from Fish Street back onto the High Street will further open up the church, enabling it to better serve its community, open it up to visitors and be a more accessible place for worship.

St Helen's Church, Worcester