A combined bid by St James’ Church, Aslackby, The Aveland History Group and Dementia Support South Lincs has been successful in gaining grant support to the tune of £ 208,524 for their joint project “Bringing Architectural and Village History to Life” from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Commenting on the award, Church Warden, Chris Gudgin, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and know the project will make a significant difference to our community and Aslackby’s wonderful heritage.”
The project focuses on repairing the leaking church roof, creating dementia friendly guides and displays, digitizing the village archive and creating a website to this information about Aslackby history. They will help local primary schools to visit and learn about church architecture and history as well.
Aslackby has a rich history which the Heritage Fund is keen to preserve and celebrate. This project will develop the church further as a community hub and local school children will be able to visit the church to learn about the architecture and village history as the work takes place.
As the volunteers digitise the village written archive material and make it available online, local people will learn more about data capture and the digitization and cataloging of records as well as more about local history.
A key part of the project will be to further develop the village’s strong relationship with Dementia Support South Lincs and create dementia friendly guides and displays to make the village an even more welcoming place for people living well with dementia while at the same time allowing people in the community to have greater knowledge and understanding of living with dementia.
The beautiful Grade 1 listed 14th century St James the Great Church is significant for its historic association with the Aslackby Preceptory of the Knights Templar, and its unusual arch details in the tower. The Knights Templar established a community there in 1164. There is also potential evidence of a xastle.
The village contains a number of architecturally interesting buildings and the 250 inhabitants comes together regularly as a community, using the church extensively for village activities which go above and beyond worship. This is why the church received, in 2009 a ‘Village Church for Village Life Award’ sponsored by Country Life, and awarded by the Duchess of Cornwall.
The new project will use the church as the focal point, and it needs to be weatherproof to maintain the fabric of the building so that it can continue to be a space for gatherings.
As well as supporting local interest and school children they hope to support research from around the world as the village has played a part in significant events – from The Pilgrim Fathers to Operation Market Garden (Battle of Arnhem) in the Second World War. John Dods, who sailed on the Susan Constant to found Jamestown USA in 1607, was born in the village.
The villagers behind the bid want to make the history and architecture accessible to not only the young but also to those who live with dementia, and want to ensure that the church – at the heart of the village – is the focal point for this activity.
The Aveland History Group focusses on the villages and towns of the ancient Aveland Wapentake. The Wapentake covers an area of the South Lincolnshire fen edge from Bourne in the south to Osbournby in the north and the villages either side of the A15 west and east. The aims of the group are to have a regular program of engaging talks and hands-on events that bring history to life. They also try to facilitate local discussion groups to share and expand local historical knowledge and record, archive and protect precious local history.
Dementia Support South Lincs helps people with dementia retain their identity and individuality by welcoming them and their carers into a supportive and friendly community environment that offers advice, activities, sharing and understanding thereby improving quality of life and reducing feelings of stress and loneliness, and works to raise awareness amongst those unfamiliar with dementia. Set up in 2011 Dementia Support South Lincs is a registered, independent charity now supporting more than 250 families in Bourne, Stamford and The Deepings area who are affected by some form of dementia or memory loss. www.dementiasupportsouthlincs.co.uk