Thanks to National Lottery players, the project aims to restore the corroded concrete structure and bell tower and employ a project officer who will help the local community to engage with the building and its heritage in some exciting new ways.
Plans include the Ascension Festival, on the weekend of 22-25 May 2020; the 50th anniversary of the opening of the building. There will also be a monthly pop-up cinema showing iconic 1970s films; an exhibition depicting the central role of The Ascension in the development of modern-day Woolston; musical concerts; and a renewal of marriage vows ceremony for all who have been married at The Ascension. The project also includes the recruitment of a team of volunteer hosts to support events; and the development of a work experience scheme with Foxwood School. The aim of the project is to see The Ascension, once again, as a central focal point for the community of Woolston.
Events have been designed to ensure there is something for everyone who lives in Woolston. The aim is to see The Ascension continue to serve the community for the next 50 years, and continue to be part of the story of the people who live here. In the next few weeks The Ascension will be releasing details of these special events, and how people can join the new volunteer team. Follow The Ascension on Facebook @AscensionWoolston
, and theascensionwoolston.co.uk
The land on which The Ascension stands was kindly donated by the Gorton family, and had been in the planning stages for several decades. The outbreak of war and rising costs in face of fundraising attempts, contributed to the delay in Woolston getting its own Church of England church. Finally, the foundation stone of The Ascension was laid in 1968, with the building completed and opened on Ascension Day 1970.
The Ascension was designed by renowned modern-day church architect George Pace. At the time, Woolston was growing rapidly with new housing and many young families were setting up home here. The Ascension, having a central location within a green, and near to the shops on Dam Lane, was at the heart of the growing new Woolston. The Ascension therefore represents more than just a church; it is a part of our heritage and is symbolic of this point in time when Woolston was rapidly growing and developing. It is part of the story of Woolston, and its history as a community. At 50 years, old it might seem that The Ascension is young compared to other heritage assets, but with Woolston being part of the New Town development it is one of the older community buildings locally.
Commenting on the award Rev Rebecca Roberts, Pioneer Team Vicar says “I’m really excited about the plans for The Ascension. I believe a church should be at the heart of its community, and the support of the National Lottery enables us to bring The Ascension back to the heart of the Woolston Community again as a facility that can be a focal point for the community as it was originally intended to be.”