Ipswich Arts Centre gets Heritage Lottery Fund grant for project documenting memories

Volunteers behind the Ipswich Arts Centre celebrate a Heritage Lottery Fund grant announcement Pictu

Volunteers behind the Ipswich Arts Centre celebrate a Heritage Lottery Fund grant announcement Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

Plans to give a redundant Ipswich church a new lease of live as an arts venue have been given a boost after a £9,900 lottery grant was approved for a special memories project.

Ipswich Arts Centre volunteers celebrate winning a Heritage Lottery Fund grant Picture: JASON NOBLE

Ipswich Arts Centre volunteers celebrate winning a Heritage Lottery Fund grant Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant to the team behind the restoration of St Clement’s Church in Star Lane/Fore Street, which is being transformed into the Ipswich Arts Centre.

The church ceased being used in the 1970s, and now as part of a celebration of the church’s history people are being urged to share their memories which will be documented.

It was inspired by three visitors during last year’s Heritage Open Days who shared their recollections of getting married in the church.

Olumide Adisa, Ipswich Arts Centre volunteer who is leading on the memories and recollections project, said: “We are thrilled to have received support.


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“Thanks to National Lottery players, it will help us capture the rich and diverse stories of women and men who attended St Clement Church and the lived experiences of what it meant to have a church in that particular area of town.

“As we continue developing St Clement Church into a vibrant 21st century performance space, this project will connect people to the past, present, and future of St Clement Church.”

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The scheme is being supported by Suffolk Record Office, which will help document memories, and the University of Suffolk history department.

The volunteer-run community interest company is continuing to fundraise towards the £54,000 essential work, which includes new flooring, electrics and toilets that will enable it to open as a pop-up venue.

Further fundraising will then take place to renovate the church, with a series of fundraising schemes and a crowdfunding campaign being planned for this year.

Amy Rushton from Suffolk Record Office, said: “Oral history helps capture and express the essence of a place, adding context to buildings, images and artefacts.

“Furthermore, sharing stories helps build connections and understanding between people, reduces isolation and promotes well-being.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said that the project was chosen for its role in the community.

He added: “The community will explore and play a part in preserving an important part of the town’s history.”

Volunteers are being sought to join the team, and people who have memories of the church can contact ipswichartscentre@gmail.com or call 07786 618668.

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