How long will it be before All Saints is open again?
Since Easter, services that would usually take place at the church in Leavesden, Watford, have had to be be held in the Church Hall instead because of the dangerous state of the roof, which has led to its officially listing on the 'buildings at risk register'. Yet, even though it is only £45,000 short of its £235,000 target, All Saints is struggling to raise the final funds.
Because listed churches are required to pay VAT upfront. Even though they can then claim it back in stages on completion of repairs, this additional money is a huge burden on those already having to ask local worshippers, residents and businesses to dig deep to help raise the funds needed.
All Saints' 100 regular worshippers, the local community, a grant from English Heritage and special fundraising events have seen the parish get tantalisingly close to its final goal. This successful fundraising is particularly inspirational, as Leavesden is not a wealthy area of Hertfordshire. But the sad truth is, that until the whole sum is raised – including the VAT – none of these funds will be available.
While All Saints remains in a state of limbo, it is affecting the Watford community. Activities that take place on a regular basis at the church are being impaired because groups aren't able to use the church and the Church Hall. Because church services are having to be held at the Church Hall, availability of the Church Hall is extremely limited, affecting a wide range of groups and events, including University of the Third Age groups, exercise classes, a carer and toddler group, uniformed organisations, and a lunch club for the elderly.
Richard Harrington MP said: “All Saints has a special place in the community as a place which gives much to the people of Leavesden and which reminds us all of our history and heritage. We would be much poorer without these things.”
Therefore, the Watford church needs your help. It's not just about asking you to give and give; All Saints would even welcome interest-free loans to help them get the works going.
Can you help All Saints make that final push? Further information can be obtained from All Saints Church Wardens, Peter Dawson and Frances Holmes, or from the Parish Administrator on 01923 661 862.
All Saints Parish Office, All Saints Crescent, Garston, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD25 0LU.