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All Saints Church to create garden space with Freebridge Community Fund grant


King’s Lynn oldest church has been given a grant from the Freebridge Community fund to help preserve its most unique feature.

All Saints Church in Hillington Square, King’s Lynn is one of very few churches to have kept its Anchor Hold, which is a small cell on the side of the church where a hermit, or ‘anchorite’ lived. The church will use the money it’s been given from the housing association’s community fund to help make a sectioned off garden area alongside this. This garden will also help protect a section of wall that is the oldest in the church – and indeed the oldest section of wall in King’s Lynn.

As well as helping to keep the area around the Anchor Hold clean and safe, it’s hoped the introduction of a fence will reduce the noise impact on nearby residents, as there are plans to open the garden to the public when the church itself is open.  

The fencing will echo the design of the church’s original entrance gateway of the church which was made in the 18th century. 

Father Adrian Ling, the Rector of All Saints told us: “Because of the sensitive nature of church buildings we can’t just go down to B&Q and buy some railing or fencing! It’s got to be railings forged at a blacksmiths forge. So it’s a proper good old fashioned style of iron railings. It’s not going to be like a security fence but should be enough to deter those who may just walk by and get up to mischief.” 

The grant from the Freebridge fund will add to funding from the Norfolk Churches Trust and the Geoffrey Watling Trust because the total cost of the project is around £4000. It’s part of a bigger project that involves repairing the outside of the Anchor Hold, the church walls and the masonry.  

Father Adrian continued: “Our problem at the moment is that we’re not able to hold our usual fundraising events. We have certain key events, like Heritage Day and our fundraising dinner at the town hall, and all of these things cannot take place this year.

“We are looking at any opportunities to fund-raise where we can. We know that recitals can take place again and this is a lovely church for them because of the good acoustics. We’re always keen to hear from any performers who can’t perform but would like to. There really is a desire in this town for classical music.”

Over the past few months the church, like most other places, has had to adapt in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Regular services and private worship at the church have now restarted but during lockdown they were held online.

Father Adrian said it’s been a balancing act: “Primarily we come to church to worship God but we also come for fellowship and company. Loneliness is a big problem in modern society, especially for those who live alone and that’s been made worse by the pandemic. Through lockdown we made regular contact with the congregation and we’re going to resume the live streaming of services again soon too.”

The funding from Freebridge’s Community Fund is part of a number of grants provided to West Norfolk charities and community groups by the housing association. Thirteen projects across the area have benefitted this year, with each being awarded amounts up to £1000. This year Freebridge raised the amount available to the fund to £10,000, double the £5000 that is normally offered, to mark the fact that they've been providing this money to groups for a decade.

We'll be taking a closer look at each of the grant recipients as part of #FreebridgeFundFriday each week.