A church in south east Cornwall has been inspired by the idea of ‘festival churches’ and has opened its doors to the wider community by organising a variety of fundraising events.

The village Little Herodsfoot is a quiet place with a population of just 150 and the parish church All Saints is the only public building left in the village.  It was being used for worship just once a week and after a positive survey of the village, the congregation and community soon got behind the fundraising efforts.

The church already benefits from an open area at the rear third of the church with a kitchen but unfortunately the toilet facilities are basic and need upgrading, the rear area needs levelling and the heating needsHERODSFOOT_CURRY replacing.  A scheme has been developed with the estimated bill coming to £100,000. Fortunately, efforts are already underway to secure funds as well as local fundraising led by the Friends of All Saints Church Herodsfoot.

Since April this year, the parish has seen beetle drives, a Bake Off competition, a wine tasting session with a local sommelier and a ‘pop-up’ pub and curry night.

Both original and new residents have been involved in the community approach and the fundraising efforts show no signs of slowing down – they have future events planned which include a skittles and pasty night, a Christmas auction and bingo and a Secret Santa event. 

Interest in this tiny parish church has reached Church House in London and Dr Joseph Elders, FSA, visited the village on 8th September to see how All Saints Church is being developed as a community building and to look at what they have achieved so far. 

Parish priest Peter Bellenes believes the idea of ‘festival churches’ provide a way of small churches remaining viable while increasing outreach and engagement.  He believes that use of the rural church in this way is ‘back to the future’ as the church building once again becomes a multi-use building as it was in medieval times.