50 Years of The Church of the Ascension

The Church of the Ascension in Woolston was consecrated and opened its doors for the first time in May 1970. This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the church. In January 2020 we embark upon an ambitious project, generously supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, to see the building restored and it back at the heart of the Woolston community.

On this page you can read about the latest update on the project and keep up to date with our progress…

29th March 2020

So much has changed in just a month! As you will be aware, Coronavirus has changed the plans of many things that were due to take place this year, and especially in April, May and June.

With the social distancing restrictions in place, for at least 12 weeks, and the likelihood of further guidance on our social gatherings and interactions beyond that, we have unfortunately taken the decision to put the Festival Weekend on hold. It was due to take place from 21-24 May 2020, but we want this to be a big celebration for the local community, and that simply wouldn’t be possible in the current circumstances.

So, we have a new plan! The festival style celebrations will still take place, but at a date in the future when things are more settled. In the meantime, we will be holding regular story times, with stories from the 1970s and Sunday School style stories on Facebook. We will also be running art and creative writing competitions that will feed into the festival weekend. And, we will be unearthing a box full of photograph memories to post online. All of these new initiatives are intended to help the local community engage with The Ascension as a heritage and community asset from the comfort of our own homes.

We didn’t want to let 21st May (Ascension Day) go by without marking it in some way. So, we are coming up with a creative way that we can have a VIRTUAL PARTY online. We’re working on the details, but as soon as we know more we will post details here.

Plans and preparations for the building work continue, and with the support of our Architects we are about to start inviting expressions of interest. There may also be some delays to the building work because of coronavirus, but until we have appointed a main contractor it is impossible to know.

Save the date for our virtual online Birthday Party. Thursday 21st May 2020.

27th February 2020

The PCC, Heritage Sub Committee, and I have been working hard behind the scenes to move the project forward. Each month we will provide an update on our National Lottery Heritage Project.

What happened in January and February…

  • We announced the news of the funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant in church, on our website and Facebook, and through press releases to local media.
  • We advertised for a Heritage Engagement Officer, received 12 applications, and after interviewing appointed Nickie Blondon.  
  • Nickie began work with us on 24th February.
  • A member of staff from Fox Wood School has visited to make plans for work experience to start.
  • We held a very successful open meeting which saw 40 people attend to find out how they can get involved.
  • Three contractors have visited to provide quotes for the replacement boiler.
  • A specialist contractor has visited to draw specialised plan drawings of the church.
  • We have placed an order with a contractor for the replacement of the speakers in church, for the pop up cinema.
  • Other equipment required for events has been ordered.
  • We have prepared our first feedback report and financial claim to The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

What will happen in March….

  • Fox Wood School will begin work experience.
  • The Architect and construction specialist will draw up comprehensive plans for the building work.
  • Bookings will be made for stalls, acts and entertainment for our Birthday Festival weekend.
  • We will start to collect memories and photographs for the history exhibition.
  • The new speakers will be installed.
  • A programme of vintage 1970s cinema screenings will be created.
  • We will get in contact with those who have expressed an interest in joining the events or maintenance teams to plan what is next for these teams.

What you can do…

  • If you haven’t done so already, let myself or Nickie know if you would like to join the events or maintenance teams.
  • Give a financial donation towards the £2,500 we need to raise ourselves for the project. (The Lottery only fund 88%.) Please give what you can genuinely afford to give, but if 50 people each gave £50, or 25 people each gave £100 it would be covered easily.  Any money we raise from fundraising events is counted separately, so we need to raise £2,500 from donations alone, and this is on top of the regular giving that goes towards paying our routine bills.
  • Bring in your photographs, and written memories and stories.  Tell us about any artefacts you might have that we could borrow for the exhibition.
  • Keep praying!