Colchester’s oldest standing building is set to be transformed into a £2.3 million community hub, if funding is approved.
Colchester City Council and leading local charity Community360 have submitted a £1.8 million bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). The bid is to aid the repair and refurbishment of Holy Trinity Church to bring it back to life as the One Colchester Community Hub, to be operated by Community360.
This Stage 1 application request for Holy Trinity Church looks to complete further repairs to the building, upgrade the heating system, insulation and accessibility, and undertake conversion work needed to create a new community hub. These measures will ensure the building is fit for future use by Community360, replacing its current base in Long Wyre Street.
The Grade I listed Holy Trinity Church, the oldest standing building in Colchester's historic city centre, dates to the 11th century, before the Norman Conquest. It was a popular place of worship until 1954 when it became vacant and was used for a short time as a museum of social history. It later became a vintage arts and craft centre and community café, until 2017 when it closed to the public.
In addition to the £1.8 million HLF bid, the Council has already secured £500,000 Government Town Deal funding and has funded emergency repair works to the roof of the church which has made it watertight and prevents further damage occurring to the building. A further funding application of £250,000 to Historic England will also be submitted soon for additional work to the church tower.
This project compliments the work already underway to improve the green space, known as Trinity Square, which is fully funded by the Government Town Deal. This will transform this neglected space into a vibrant and accessible green space that the community will be able to use.
Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, said: “As a city we are rightly proud of our history. This National Lottery Heritage Fund bid builds on our investment in the future of this much-loved ancient church. We want to ensure it has not just a venerable history but a great future. A successful bid will help us ensure a wonderful new facility for a great partner, Community360. They do so much to support many in need. This church will be a great setting for all they do. And for the generations that follow.
Tracy Rudling, CEO at Community360 and Chair of One Colchester said: “It would be fantastic to secure lottery funding to bring Holy Trinity Church back to its former glory, whilst providing a much-needed permanent base for the One Colchester Community Hub. Over the years Community360 has seen first-hand the need for the wider community to have access to services and advice which people can trust, a place where people can meet, connect, learn new hobbies and have access to resources.”
She added: “The development of Holy Trinity Church which is also in such a prominent position in the city, is a fantastic opportunity to create a permanent and improved community offer, a focal point for all generations. A great deal of hard work has gone into the submission, and I would personally like to thank all the partners involved in making this transformational project becoming a reality.”
The City Council and Community360 will find out whether the bid has been successful later this year.
For further information about investment in Colchester City Centre, visit colchester.gov.uk/colchester-city-centre. Keep up to date by subscribing to Colchester City News e-newsletter.
Pictured above: Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, and Tracy Rudling, CEO at Community360, in front of Holy Trinity Church.
Page last reviewed: 24 August 2023