IT could take a town to raise a church, or at least to bring the longheld plans to rescue one to reality.

A callout has been made to the people of Devizes to resurrect plans to transform the ailing St Mary’s Church, on Park Street, into a bustling community space to serve the town, bringing life back to an idea which has been a dream for some time.

The church, which is not in a fit state for regular church services, is poised to become a community space for theatrical performances, dance shows, exhibitions and more.

But the future of the plans rely on support from Devizes, from finding money to pay for the project to running it once it is fully open.

Plans for an extension have been approved by Wiltshire Council and the parish is in the last stages of agreeing final details with the relevant Salisbury Diocesan authorities.

Now Tony Scorer, who is leading the plans, has asked the people of Devizes to mobilise and play their own part in making history. Volunteers are needed over a variety of categories.

Plans for St Mary’s Church Devizes
  The interior of St Mary’s church  where plans are to remove the pews and transform the church more suitable for Community events 
 Photo Trevor Porter 67223 13

Plans for St Mary’s Church Devizes The interior of St Mary’s church where plans are to remove the pews and transform the church more suitable for Community events Photo Trevor Porter 67223 13

He said: “As this initiative to regenerate St Mary’s into a valuable community asset moves closer to becoming a reality, there are a number of ways that volunteers can become involved in deciding and implementing what is delivered. These are the practical issues than can benefit from the experience of others.”

Tony hopes the promotion of the project will compliment the o-going plans to transform the Devizes Assizes Court in regenerating the town.

He added: “I think there’s so much knowledge around in town that people will be able to ensure the venue is fit for purpose and it can be the ideas from locals themselves, as the church’s future revolves around serving the town.

“The more people are involved, the more resilient the project will be. It means when we are getting high-quality performers into quiet Wiltshire, everyone will be aware of this brilliant space for them to use.”

Volunteer teams will oversee funding options, promoting St Mary’s and working on zero carbon plans for the building. Practical help is also needed to work on lighting, fire safety and electrical and IT services.

Currently, archaeological investigations are underway to find out what is below the floor of the 12th century structure, and those findings will affect the decision of how reconfigure the inside of the church.

Tony added: “The response to Covid-19 has shown that Devizes thinks and acts as a dynamic entity for the whole local area. Just think of the many other innovative projects in place and the huge number of groups promoting and supporting all aspects of life. These opportunities are highlighted by the plans for the assize courts; by the excellence of the performers brought to the town by the Devizes Arts Festival; the breadth of offerings by the Devizes Food and Devizes Beer Festivals, as well as all the activities initiated by the hugely popular Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts group.”

For more information have a look at www.stmarydevizestrust.org.uk where you can sign up for news or email to offer help through info@stmarydevizestrust.org.uk