Timeline of The Friends
The Friends of St Dionysius Church, Market Harborough
The Foundation Process
The concept of creating The Friends was the brainchild of Roy Bordoli, who was the church architect in 1996 and a Church Council member. He realised the cost of maintaining a Grade I listed building, of which the oldest parts had been built in the 13th Century, was beyond the means of the worshipping congregation by itself.
At a Church Council meeting held on 15 May 1996, it was agreed to commence the process of establishing The Friends of St Dionysius Church as a fundraising body. It would invite the wider town community as well as the church congregation to contribute by attending events arranged by The Friends.
At its meeting on 17 July 1996, the Church Council agreed to start the lengthy process of establishing The Friends as a Registered Charity with its own banking arrangements. A constitution was then drafted and was approved by the Church Council on 26 January 1997.
In a letter from the Charity Commissioners of 26 March 1997, it was made clear that for The Friends to be a registered charity, its Executive Committee must have full discretion as to how the funds raised are to be used.
This guidance has been rigorously followed since, whereby the Church Council Secretary requests funding for each specified project in writing, The Friends Executive Committee reviews the projects compatibility with its constitution and its Secretary replies appropriately to the Church Council Secretary .
Foundation Years 1990 – 1998
After the major restoration between 1983 and 1987 funded largely by an appeal to the public of the town and the world, further deterioration of the building was inevitable. Our then architect [Roy Bordoli] decided to form The Friends as an independent Charitable Trust with its own constitution, officers and ‘ring-fenced’ funds.
The Friends was registered under the Charities Act of 1993. The Charities Commission confirmed its approval of the foundation of The Friends on 11 March 1998. Funds donated to or raised by The Friendsare kept in a separate account controlled by its Treasurer and Trustees and are used solely to contribute to monitoring the integrity of and maintaining the quality of the church fabric.
Implementation Years 1998 – 2009
The means of achieving the additional funds are outlined in the Constitution as ‘arranging and providing exhibitions, concerts, meetings, lectures and classes’. So far concerts have been our most effective category. We have found the social dimension of The Friends continues to be important.
Publications have included the annual Newsletter, the one-off summary of all the church’s stained glass and, in more recent years, Chairman John’s ‘Window’ newsbriefs.
After a slow start, over £38,000 has been raised with over £31,000 spent on six projects [The East Window refurbishment, the South Buttresses repair, the Tower survey, Chancel Roof re-sheeting with stainless steel, Tower mullions and clearing the guttering and 12 downpipes]. The balance is almost entirely invested with the Market Harborough Building Society awaiting the next request[s] from the Church Council.
The items needing attention reported in the church architect’s report after his quinquennial inspection in March 2009 have been carried out. Whilst there are no current requests in the pipeline from the Church Council for financial help with the fabric projects, the need for stone repair work in the West end porch is under review.