I love the way some projects take on a life of their own. Today, in St Martin’s in the Bullring (Birmingham) the third edition of the Crossing the Threshold toolkit was launched.
In 2007 I wrote a book entitled , which explains to community groups in a clear and easy-to-understand way, how to apply for grant money from various funding organisations.
Two years later I was commissioned by the Diocese of Hereford to write a guide for their church communities about how they could adapt their church building for wider community use, including applying to grant funders.
The document was successfully launched and used by church groups across the country. Four years later, in 2013, the toolkit was updated (not by me) and made available nationally.
Today, the toolkit has been revised and fully-updated again. Drawing upon the experience gained by projects since the first toolkit, and reflecting changes in building regulations and the third sector, the 268-page guide has been updated by the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance, with funding from AllChurches Trust. It’s now available to download for free from the Hereford Diocese website (https://www.hereford.anglican.org/Crossingthethresholdtoolkit/)
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the launch in Birmingham, but it was great fun being involved in the administration, including helping put together all of the presentations used during the day-long event. And I couldn’t help thinking back to 2009, when I was first asked to create a short 20,000-word document, that I had no idea then how this project would grow and grow.
I only hope more groups find the document as useful as others have in the past. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since coming to live in the Welsh Borders, it’s that the communities here know how to organise themselves and do something when they need to. When services and facilities are withdrawn, rural communities don’t give up. They look round at the assets they have and think about maximising their potential. It’s amazing what a community can achieve, when it puts its mind to it. And in a small way, back in 2009, I helped several communities do just that.
Life on the Welsh Borders is always more interesting!