St Peter’s in Sudbury is gearing up for its second attempt at securing a major portion of the £2.2 million it needs to revitalise the venue for a new generation.
The venue, based within the redundant church in Market Place, is set to apply for a grant of £1.8 million in November from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to help finance significant structural repairs, improved kitchen, toilet and storage facilities and a new gallery level.
The regeneration is part of efforts to increase engagement with residents under the age of 50, particularly younger people, after a recent survey which sought views on how to expand the venue’s appeal to a wider audience.
Peter Gray, chairman of the Friends of St Peter’s, said: “The idea is to get new generations of people to recognise it as a building that’s open for their interests and their purposes.
“The picture that’s becoming clear is you can’t get people interested unless you do something that interests them.
“Its position in the town and its capacity is very unique. It’s universally admired as a building and offers so much potential and so much space.
“The way society and town centres are going, people are always talking about groups becoming more fragmented and communities dying out.
“I would like to think this project can unite people.”
If it is successful in the HLF’s next round of funding, St Peter’s will then begin the process of acquiring the remaining cash through further grant applications and fundraising.
“The committee accepts that just managing the place as it is now is not sustainable. We need to keep pushing it forward,” added Mr Gray.
“We want other generations to benefit from it the way Sudbury has over the last 40 years. Without new blood, it’s going to dwindle.”