Fundraisers at St Michael’s Parish Church in Linlithgow are feeling empowered after receiving a £70,000 cash injection towards their re-wiring and re-lighting project at the famous landmark.
The church has been fundraising since last March to reach their £170,000 target and are delighted with the lump sum from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.
The fund was set up to help communities in Scotland move to an era of low carbon living, and it is hoped that installing a state of the art LED lighting system at the church will significantly reduce electricity usage. In exchange for the funding, the church has also agreed to undertake a number of initiatives aimed at driving home the low carbon message.
The Fund’s £70,000 grant will be added to the £65,000 already raised by the congregation through their own efforts.
Peter Russell, chairman of the kirk session’s business team, said: “With £135,000 now in the appeal fund our aim of starting work in the spring of next year looks attainable.”
At a meeting later this month, the church’s kirk session will be asked to give formal approval for work to go out to tender, and will listen to the latest proposals from a specialist lighting consultant who is drawing up a scheme for the church.
In addition to the work inside the kirk, it is likely that a separate contract will be drawn up for improvements to the exterior lighting at both the south and west doors. The floodlighting system will also be reviewed .
Margaret Henderson, head of the fundraising team, said: “Our aim is not just to raise money but also to get the congregation working together.
“When we look back to that day in May when so many of us got soaked to the skin at our spring fair we realise that we have come a long way.”
About 30,000 visitors pass through St Michael’s doors annually and it is hoped that many of them will take away with them the ‘low carbon’ message when they see the vast improvements that can be made.
The next major fundraising effort for the church will be a novel Christmas panto – the story of the nativity told in panto style.
The script has been written by one of the elders, Alan Millar, and more than 80 members of the congregation are involved either as actors, singers, musicians, costume makers, scenery designers, technicians or stage hands.
The re-wiring and re-lighting project was taken on by bright sparks earlier this year after a full inspection of the church found that most of the electrical wiring needed to be replaced. It was considered timely to upgrade the light fittings at the same time.