St Leonard’s Church (SLC) can get the ball rolling on major improvements projects after landing £28,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money.

The “initial support” from the Lottery funder will allow the Streatham Church to cover costs involved with commissioning building and structural surveys.

Meanwhile, HLF will continue assessing their application and decide whether to award the full amount of £225,000 to the church, which has been serving the community for over 1,000 years.

If SLC succeeds, they will be able to make their leaky building watertight and push on with internal improvements, including installing ramps and disabled toilets.

Fundraising Committee Member, Helen Smith, said that passing the HLF’s first round of applications has been a huge vote of confidence.

“We’re very excited that they’ve agreed to support it. We’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to secure the full funds,” she said.

“We were very hopeful we’d get through but obviously, you can never tell,” said Helen.

To satisfy the HLF’s requirements, SLC also need to secure a portion of match funding from their congregation and donors and trusts.

Helen said that repairs and improvements will allow the Church to offer a “modern facility” which can be of use to the community in Streatham.

Further down the line, SLC also aims to revamp catering and sound facilities in the church to make it “a more serviceable space, open to the wider community where people can get together.”

SLC already hosts a wide range of community groups and activities, including Streatham Choral Society, Freedom over 60s Club, Streatham Society and the Depression Alliance.

It also gave part of the building to Spires, a charity which works with homeless people, who deliver services there.

“We touch a lot of segments of the community and different age groups,” said Helen.

People have worshipped at the site of St Leonard’s for over 1,000 years and parts of the present building date from the 14th century.

Writers Jane Austen and Samuel Johnson are both known to have worshipped there.

SLC are organising a number of fundraising activities over the coming months. Visit https://redevelopment.stleonard-streatham.org.uk/ for more information.