Parish looking for ideas to help get the most out of historic church

St Mary's Church, in Ramsey. Picture: GOOGLE

St Mary's Church, in Ramsey. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

A church in Ramsey is looking for a second purpose and the public are being asked to decide what they would like the building to be used for.

Parishioners of St Mary’s Church are giving locals a chance to choose what they want the building to be used for.

The church, situated in St Mary’s Road, is looking for a new lease of life as the parochial church council and congregation want the historic facility to be used more.

Although they would like its central function as a church to continue, they are inviting residents the chance to have their say about what they want the space to be used for during the week.

Hayley Neal, who is helping direct the research, said: “We don’t know how much money we are going to need [to refurbish the church] as we are letting the community decide what they want to happen with the church.

“I think that it is so important that we let the people of Ramsey decide because there is no point us turning it into something that no-one wants. We have given out surveys to people in the area, which will allow us to narrow down what people want.

“After that we are going to issue another questionnaire which should allow us to determine what it will be used for.”

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Ms Neal said: “So far we have had loads of ideas, including a retreat centre where people can go to relax, pilates sessions and even a nursery.

“We are really opened-minded about what it could be as we want as many people to get use out of it as possible. It will still be a church, but we would like more people to use it as it is such a nice building.”

MP for North West Cambridgeshire, Shailesh Vara is set to visit the church on Saturday to show his support for the project and offer his opinion about how the church can support the community.

Reverend Canon Richard Darmody, rector of the United Benefice of The Ramseys and Upwood, including St Mary’s Church, said: “St Mary’s Church is a lovely building in the heart of a thriving community, but at the moment it is not being used to its full potential.

“We want to know what alterations we can make to the building to make it more welcoming and useable. We hope this will lead to opportunities for funding to make the alterations, and hopefully some heating. We thank Mr Vara for his support.”

If you would like to support the church you can e-mail