That the Churches, the surroundings and the Rectory buildings are creatively and sustainably utilised for the benefit of the local community, visitors and the Ministry and Mission of the church.

The Big Vision is the project title of the piece of work we are doing considering the three church buildings in Kirkby Lonsdale (St Mary's Church of England, Kirkby Lonsdale Methodist Church and St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church), the Rectory buildings including the Rectory, the Vicarage and St Mary's Cottage, and the Cemeteries, the Glebe Field and Cockpit Hill.

The Project Team comprises Peter Gregson (Chair), Rev Richard Snow, Rev Wendy Thornton, Rev Anne Pettifor, Anne Foulerton, David Dalgoutte, Mike Cunningham and Merlin Hibbs. The Project Team can be contacted by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Latest

Update for The Big Vision – April 2024

What follows is an update on the St Mary’s Church part of The Big Vision. Kirkby Lonsdale Methodist Church is currently considering its future part in The Big Vision.

The St Mary’s District Church Council has committed to a major and ambitious project to repair and reorder St Mary’s Church in order to provide a sustainable future for this wonderful building which has been at the physical and metaphorical heart of our community for over 900 years.

The repair and reordering project will:

  • Address the major fabric repairs so that the building is both watertight (roof) and does not face significant latent issues (eg pointing)
  • Build on the legacy of having a building which inspires a wide variety of worship
  • Provide financial security; the outcome of the project includes the people, facilities and flexibility to host events which can generate income which will help to provide financial sustainability
  • Create a new arrangement for managing and maintaining the building
  • Take all possible steps towards net zero and to enhance St Mary’s eco credentials
  • Develop the missional link between the use of the building (eg activities and events), the wellbeing and needs of the community and the Family Project
  • Ensure the building is attractive and makes the greatest possible contribution to the town’s offer to visitors and tourists by being welcoming, inspiring and interesting to visit, through interpretation and by hosting different events
  • Provide a greater ‘church’ presence by having the wider life of the church on site(eg ministry, administration, meetings) such that it is a hub for church activity and there is a greater personal presence in the building

Article in AKL - July August 2021

We reported in last month’s AKL that we were sub- mitting an Expression of Interest to the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund (NLHF) for funding towards the redevelopment of St Mary’s Church. An Expression of Interest is the first stage in the application process for funding. We have now heard back from NLHF to say that they will not be inviting us to make a full application at this stage.
Whilst this is clearly disappointing for us, we believe that the decision reflects the large number of good applica- tions currently being made to NLHF.
It is our intention to submit a revised Expression of Inter- est later in the year and, in the meantime, we are also looking at alternative funding options.
As also mentioned last month, we have invited a number of specialist architectural practices to present their ideas to us for possible works at St Mary’s. We are currently evaluating these and will report further in due course.
For any further information about The Big Vision project, do please get in touch with me or any other member of the Project Team.
Peter Gregson, Chair, The Big Vision Project Team

Article in AKL - June 2021

Since last month’s update on The Big Vision, we’re pleased to report that we have now submitted our Expression of Interest (EOI) for funding to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the redevelopment of St Mary’s Church. This is the first stage in the process for applying for funding and, if we are successful, will lead to an invitation for us to make a full and detailed application.
As mentioned last month, we are also working with the Town Council on a separate, but related, Expression of Interest for NLHF funding, for the stabilisation of The Brow and footpath near Ruskin’s View, and includes our proposal to open up Cockpit Hill and the Motte to public access. That Expression of Interest has now also been sent in.
We will report on the outcome of these Expressions of Interest when we know.
We have also started the process of identifying a suita- ble firm of specialist conservation architects to work
(The type of service may change after AKL goes to print. Please check church notice boards and website— kl.church—for up to date information)
with us on the redevelopment of St Mary’s. A number of architectural practices with experience of working on Grade One listed buildings have visited St Mary’s and have met with members of the Project Team. The next step is for each practice to submit a written response, and then make a formal presentation which we hope will take place in early June.
If you would like any further information about The Big Vision do please get in touch with me, or another member of the Project Team.

Peter Gregson, Chair, The Big Vision Project Team Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Article in AKL - May 2021

Work has very much been continuing on The Big Vision during the pandemic.
You may remember that The Big Vision is an initiative of the Churches (St Mary’s Church, Kirkby Lonsdale Methodist Church and St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church) working together to widen the use of the Church buildings and their surroundings, so that they are even more widely used and appreciated by the community and the visitors to the town who are such an important part of the town’s economy.
Our aim is ‘that the Churches, the surroundings and the Rectory buildings are creatively and sustainably utilised for the benefit of the local community, visitors and Ministry and Mission of the church.’
As I write this, we are about to submit Expressions of Interest to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for funding for some of the projects we have been working on. An Expression of Interest is the first stage in the grant application process for NLHF funding. We are aware that funding for projects such as ours is extremely competitive at the moment so are taking great care to ensure that we meet all the required criteria, which include heritage, community, COVID recovery and environmental sustainability.
There will be two Expressions of Interest. The first is for works to St Mary’s Church, both internally and externally; you may be aware that the church clock is not currently working and you will not have heard the bells ring recently as access to the tower is too dangerous because of decay to the floors and the timbers supporting the clock. The roof and drainage systems of the Church are also in need of work. Internally, we wish to take the opportunity to upgrade the toilets and kitchen and consider changes to the seating arrange- ments and to possibly incorporate an office and some meeting space.
The second covers works to The Brow, Cockpit Hill, the Motte and the Glebe Field and we are delighted to be working with the Town Council on this Expression of Interest, which they will lead on, as they own the Brow. We feel that incorporating the development of the Glebe Field, Cockpit Hill and the Motte into this Expression of Interest will considerably strengthen its heritage creden- tials and thus, we hope, increase the chances of funding.
Many people will be aware that the Brow has been undercut by the River Lune over many years. This has now reached the stage where this undercutting is threatening the future of the Brow and footpath, and ultimately the Glebe Field, Cockpit Hill and the Motte and urgent works are now needed to protect it.
If no action is taken shortly, it will be necessary, on safety grounds, to close the footpath along the Brow
between the top of the Radical Steps as far at least as the entrance to the cemetery extension which could make access to the Glebe Field, Cemetery and Rugby Club problematic. A major tourist and heritage attraction would be lost, together with the opportunity to link Ruskin’s View to other heritage assets in the town.
As part of this Expression of Interest, as well as under- taking works to stabilise the Brow, we would like to open up access to Cockpit Hill and the Motte, which have been under the cover of brambles for many years. If you are walking along the Brow footpath heading towards the Rugby Club, glance over the wall to your left just after you pass Ruskin’s View and you will see Cockpit Hill and the Motte.
During our community consultation in 2019 there was an overwhelming majority in favour of opening up Cockpit Hill and the Motte to public access, and to provide interpretation for their history and heritage. They are the remains of a small medieval motte and bailey castle, one of a large number in the area, and formed part of the defensive line of castles built along the River Lune. Cockpit Hill is reputed to have been used as a cock fighting pit during the post medieval period, hence its name.
And, of course, being slightly higher than Ruskin’s View, the view from here is, if anything, even better and more far reaching.
One possibility we are considering is, working with other key organisations in the town, to create a self guided town Heritage Trail with interpretation boards at key points which would link together the many historic places of interest in the town.
Please get in touch with me or any of the other members of the Project Team if you have any questions or comments.

Peter Gregson, Chair Project Team, The Big Vision email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or mobile 07484 751160

The other members of the Project Team are Rev Richard Snow, Rev Wendy Thornton (currently on sabbatical), Rev Anne Pettifor, Anne Foulerton, David Dalgoutte, Merlin Hibbs and Mike Cunningham

Article in AKL - August 2020

Work is continuing, mainly over Zoom, on the different strands of The Big Vision, looking at how we open up the Church buildings and their surroundings for greater community use and benefit. We will publish our proposals as soon as we able. For more information about The Big Vision, please visit our web-
site www.thebigvision.org.uk.

Peter Gregson, Chair, Project Team, The Big Vision

Article in AKL - July 2020

Although current restrictions have prevented The Big Vision Project Team from meeting in person since March, there have been regular Zoom calls and other work going on to progress detailed work on the options we’re considering for the Church buildings and their surroundings. We will publish our ideas as soon as we are able.

Peter Gregson, Chair, The Big Vision Project Team www.thebigvision.org.uk

Article in AKL - June 2020

Detailed work is continuing on the options for The Big Vision and we will publish proposals as soon as we are able. Do please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.thebigvision.org.uk if you need any information.

Peter Gregson, Chair, Project Team, The Big Vision 

Article in AKL - May 2020

Work on the option appraisals for The Big Vision is continuing with the Project Team and working groups meeting and working via Zoom conference calls. Everyone is adjusting to a new way of working! We will publish our ideas as soon as we are able. In the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe and well, and at home.

Peter Gregson, Chair, The Big Vision Project Team

Article in AKL - April 2020

We have now started detailed work on the options we are considering for the future use of the Church buildings and their surroundings and we will publish our proposals as soon as we are able. In the meantime we held a well-attended event in early March where we updated members of key organisations in the town about progress to date on The Big Vision and outlined our plans for the future.

There is more information about The Big Vision on our website www.thebigvision.org.uk or please have a word with one of the members of the Project Team - Rev Richard Snow, Rev Wendy Thornton, Rev Anne Pettifor, Anne Foulerton, Merlin Hibbs, David Dalgoutte, Mike Cunningham or Peter Gregson (Chair).

Article in AKL -  March 2020

In the past month we have had further discussions with Town Councillors about future collaboration on the Brow and have had a meeting with a team of senior officers from the Carlisle Diocese. They are extremely supportive about our wish to creatively and sustainably widen the use of the Church buildings and their surroundings for greater community benefit. We are currently working on a number of different options which we will publicise as soon as we are able.
For more information about The Big Vision please vis-
it www.thebigvision.org.uk or speak to one of the mem- bers of the Project Team: Rev Richard Snow, Rev Wendy Thornton, Rev Anne Pettifor, Anne Fullerton, Merlin Hibbs, David Dalgoutte, Mike Cunningham and Peter Gregson (Chair)

Article in AKL - February 2020

It’s clear from the extensive consultations we did last year with both the community and our congregations that the churches (not just the church buildings) hold a very special place in the hearts of many people in Kirkby Lonsdale and the wider area. This year we intend to bring forward specific proposals as to how we can widen the use of the wonderful buildings and surroundings we have so that they can be opened up for greater commu- nity use and benefit. When our proposals are an- nounced, we will be seeking the views of you, the com- munity, in a further round of consultation and discussion and as always, updates will be published each month in Around Kirkby Lonsdale.
In December we hosted a meeting of senior Cumbrian Church leaders from the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church. We updated them on progress to date with The Big Vision and they expressed their enthusiasm and support for the project. You may also have seen us featured in January’s Lancashire Life as part of the article on Kirkby Lonsdale.
As ever, please get in touch with any of the Project Team if you have any questions or comments, either by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or in person to one of the team who are Rev Richard Snow, Rev Wendy Thornton, Rev Anne Pettifor, Anne Foulerton, Merlin Hibbs, David Dalgoutte, Mike Cunningham and Peter Gregson (Chair).

Article in AKL - December 2019/ January 2020

Since the last AKL was published we have continued our consultation and engagement with members of the public and the community. We have met with members of the Town Council and the Civic Society and have host- ed a group of students from QEStudio who are giving us their views and ideas about how they would like to see the town’s Church buildings and their surroundings used for greater community benefit in the future.
Our task now is to analyse all the feedback and the views which have been expressed and identify a number of key areas which we will then take forward and explore in more detail. We hope to complete this process shortly.
If you would like to know more about The Big Vision you will find a lot of information, including the community feedback, on our website www.thebigvision.org.uk. Alternatively, please have a word with one of The Big Vision Project Team - Rev Richard Snow, Rev Wendy Thornton, Rev Anne Pettifor, Anne Foulerton, Merlin Hibbs, David Dalgoutte, Mike Cunningham and Peter Gregson (Chair)

Congregation Workshop - September 2019

The slides from the Congregation Workshop on 28th September are here

The environmental references were as follows:-

Local Community Questionnaire - September 2019

The latest feedback from the Community Questionnaire is here. We are still continuing our community consultation. If you want to provide some ideas or feedback a copy of the leaflet is here. Please return it via the Tourist Information Centre or to the email address above.

 

Market Stall Update - August 2019

We have now completed our 3 market stall events and had many very good discussions with local people and visitors.

       

Congregation Consultation - May 2019

The comments received from the consultation with the congregations in May 2019 are here.