Marsh Award for Volunteer Team of the Year with the Churches Conservation Trust

The Award celebrates the achievements of a volunteer team or friends group who have carried out successful projects, events or activities together. The Award recognises those who look after their local church and engage with the public, whilst promoting the work of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Nominations are submitted to the Churches Conservation Trust via their website and are judged in partnership with representatives of the MCT.

Pictured: The Friends of Old Christ Church Waterloo

Volunteers at Holy Trinity Church in Privett 2021

This is a strong, proactive team which has not allowed the coronavirus pandemic to hinder their efforts. Over the year, they have undertaken a huge project to clear the churchyard and restore it to its former glory, allowing self-led tours to take place as part of Heritage Open Days. They have organised and contributed to several online activities, including Holy Trinity’s first virtual Carol Service. The team are not perturbed by any challenges and work remarkable well with their community and the CCT to make the most of their local church. 

Previous Winners

Friends of St Wilfrid's, Church Norton

Even though this little chapel can seat a maximum of 35 people, the Friends of St Wilfrid’s have a programme of events that encourage visitors old and new, to come and experience the building. The chapel is opened every day, cleaned with fresh flowers, and prepared for baptisms and blessings as they occur. In three years, the Friends have hosted ten theatre performances, and this year, welcomes the Shoreham Chamber Choir to perform. Welcoming over 18,400 visitors in the last year has generated over £300 to CCT funds, and is all done in a friendly and generous way which all can enjoy.

Friends of St Bartholomew's, Lower Basildon and Friends of Milton Mausoleum

Friends of St Bartholomew’s, Lower Basildon

This team of volunteers have been going from strength to strength. In 2018, they completed their clock restoration project for which they raised over £10,000. They were a great help in supporting the West Region’s Trustees Tour, hosting a volunteers celebration event for over 100 people at the church in May. Throughout 2018 the Friends hosted 14 events at the church, while keeping the churchyard beautifully maintained and writing a comprehensive plan to sustain the church in the future.

Friends of Milton Mausoleum

This team of volunteers were founded only three years ago to bring their historic building back into community use and have already raised over £10,000. They are a willing and determined team, and their efforts have recently been rewarded by the arrival of electricity in the building, thus enabling future events to be held all year round. The Friends have been chosen by the CCT as a good practice model and have given assistance to other volunteering teams.

Friends of St Mary's Old Church, West Bergholt

Friends of St Mary’s Old Church, West Bergholt

2017 has seen the launch of the roof repair project at the church, towards which the Friends have raised £10,000 in the short space of 6 months. They have worked together and engaged with the local community, raising money through a number of different events including concerts, table top sales, an application to the parish council and a bluebell walk event. They have demonstrated enthusiasm, commitment and team spirit to fundraise for the church and are putting together a Church Plan to continue its development in the future.

Holy Trinity Goodramgate Volunteers

This team of enthusiastic volunteers has ensured that Holy Trinity Goodramgate in York has been open seven days per week for more than five years. They have collectively given over 27,000 hours of their time and welcoming thousands of visitors.

The team take on a variety of roles and also lend their expertise and services to other projects and churches in the area.

Bristol St John’s Volunteers

The 19 strong volunteer team at Bristol St John’s have achieved remarkable things. The church has gone from being open one afternoon a week to being open an average of 5 days a week in 2015, with volunteers offering free guided tours of the church to all visitors. The team have also set up various sub-committees and groups to help with the day to day management of the building.

The Visitor Welcome Team also made fantastic efforts in encouraging visitors to complete 88 visitor surveys, providing essential feedback on the significance and public perception of the site. Between September 2014 and February 2015 volunteers contributed 647 hours to the church. In particular the CCT would like to acknowledge the efforts of Elizabeth Taylor, who has given 3 days a week for the past year to help turn Bristol St John’s into the visitor attraction it deserves to be.