We were competing with fine Sunday afternoon weather yesterday, so thank you everyone who did turn up for the meeting at the Parish Church. It was an opportunity to provide an update on the project and for everyone to take part in discussions about the community engagement programme of activities that we are planning.
The session began with a refresh on what the project is and where we have got to so far. You can find Our Project Objectives here and the latest Project update here. It is important for everyone to understand that we need approval from the National Lottery Heritage Fund before the project can start and they will begin to release the money they have promised. To get this approval, we need the relevant official permissions for the work to proceed and this is well in hand. We also need to have in place the match-funding sufficient to cover our budget for the first phase of the project. This is why we are stressing the crowd-funding campaign so much, because while we are close to the target, we still need help. If you are willing to support the project, please follow the link to our Crowd-funding page .
We talked about the arrangements for the dig and how volunteers can participate. It is very important that we know in advance who wants to take part and broadly when you are available so we can plan effectively. There will be a health and safety induction once each week, and you will need to have attended one of these before you can work on site. There were forms available for people at the meeting to register their interest in participating in the dig. You can also download the Interest collection form here. You can either fill it in on-line and send it back to us by email (see Contacts) or you can leave it in the drop-box at the Library. All we need at this stage is to know if you are interested in taking part. We will get back to you a bit closer to the start of the dig to check when you are available.
Over coffee, tea and cake, there was a chance to check out the exhibition we have put up in the church about the project. This will remain in the church for the time, so if you haven’t seen it yet, it is still there.
After refreshment, we started the serious business of discussing how to spend the money we have raised on activities for our community that will run through until the end of 2020. We broke up into groups to talk about what we could do.
We are looking for ideas that will explore aspects of heritage, which can include the historical environment as well as pure history, poetry and drama, as well as other arts and crafts, talks and workshops, and a whole range of practical activities. Various ideas have been put forward already, so the Amateur Dramatic Society is considering putting on a Mystery Play in the church. We will be engaging one or more resident artists, and we are discussing with the school involving all the children in activities. There are ideas for workshops that could explore foraging and the kind of wild plants available to our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, or how to use minerals and plants to make paint and dyes. We talked about the Royal Saxon Way which is a walking route we have developed linking 16 historic churches between Folkestone and Minster-in-Thanet, via Lyminge. You can read more about this here.
We welcome ideas from groups and societies within the village or from individuals. We will be appointing a liaison officer to coordinate this programme and help you work up proposals and cost them so you can apply for budget. In the meantime, if you have any great ideas, please let us know using the Interest collection form, returning it on-line or via the drop-box in the Library as already discussed above.
At this stage, we do have to remember that the project hasn’t yet been approved to start. But the signs are looking good, so we do need to plan on the basis that we will receive approval to start. There is great potential for lots of people to get involved. So please, if you have any bright ideas or just want to take part, do get in touch. This project is for you. We look forward to hearing from you.
Rob, Project Manager