2018 started at full-pace for me in my new role of Church Support Officer for the National Churches Trust - I am assisting Janet Edmond, the MaintenanceBooker project leader, with the national launch of the service this year.
One of my key tasks has been to contact contractors across England and Wales to encourage them to tender for the supply of maintenance services such as tree surgery and rainwater goods. When the service is launched across Wales and the North of England in the Spring, contractors will be able to bid for jobs posted by churches in their regions of coverage. So it is important to have a good geographical spread of contractors to increase the likelihood of a church receiving multiple quotes – the more quotes, the more choice for the church!
Another aspect of my new role is to market MaintenanceBooker and positively engage as many people as possible with it. A really interesting part of the marketing and communication work involves travelling around the country.
At the beginning of February Janet and I travelled to South Wales for two days, to discuss website development with our procurement partners, 2buy2. Coincidentally, their offices are located close to the Diocese of Llandaff, who occupy a former vicarage situated next to the Grade I listed church in Coychurch, just outside Bridgend. We delivered a presentation on MaintenanceBooker to Llandaff and gave a demonstration on how to use the website.
Later that afternoon we headed to our accommodation outside Pencoed. I noticed an enticing signpost to ‘Llanilid Church’ so, despite the drizzle, wandered up a country lane which took me through the hamlet of Llanilid, which consists of a handful of buildings straddling a hillside.
Pretty stone-built parish church
Turning off the lane on the brow of the hill I found the pretty little stone-built parish church of St Ilid & St Curig, which may date back to pre-Norman times, nestled amongst a copse of trees. The church was locked, but it was very pleasing to wander through the churchyard and admire the exterior. Perhaps this church might benefit from MaintenanceBooker in the future - I will certainly be encouraging St Ilid and St Curig to register!
Being so closely involved with the roll-out of this unique and pioneering new service is exciting, and I am looking forward to further trips around the country – and exploring more churches… Next on the timeline is Brecon, mid-Wales, where there is a beautiful cathedral as well as a number of other historic churches awaiting a visit.
If you are a church representative in Yorkshire, you can register for MaintenanceBooker here: www.maintenancebooker.org.uk/register. If your church is anywhere else in England or Wales, you will soon be able to pre-register your church on the website, with details to come shortly.