The new Friends of Heptonstall Chapel and Sunday School has received a grant of £3,000 towards a feasibility study of conversion of the Sunday School from Calderdale Council, plus a further £1,000 from Heptonstall Parish Council.
Although this is not sufficient for a full feasibility study, it is a very good starting point towards the kind of level of detail that would be required for a large Heritage Lottery Grant application. A full study would cost about £6,000, and the group is looking at additional sources of funding.
The Friends group will be spending part of this money on financial projections for a holiday let on the lower floor and public hall upstairs in the Sunday School, and on architect’s sketches for creating this with disabled access to both floors. When these are available they will be made public for comment.
The Friends group is also looking at ways of forging stronger links between the Chapel and community. To this end, with the Church Council’s support, three local textile artists will display their work as part of the Hebden Bridge Open Studios event in July.If the Chapel renovations are not completed by then, they will use the Sunday School.
The group is also hoping to organise a Gala production of an unusual version of Handel’s Messiah to be performed in the Chapel in Spring 2018. This will incorporate Easter sections of the piece not often performed and use young local soloists for a brighter sound than the traditional Christmas version.