A New Era for All Souls

The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), together with the Board of Trustees of All Souls Bolton, today announce that the CCT will resume governance, operation and management of All Souls’ church in Bolton, effective from 1st October 2017.

All Souls’ church, Bolton re-opened in December 2014, revealing the results of an ambitious £4.9 million scheme, which had been ten years in the making.  Through a partnership between the CCT and the local community, with support from various funders including the Heritage Lottery Fund, this Grade II* listed church was transformed into an award-winning centre, hosting conference, office, learning and community spaces.

Under the management of newly created charity, All Souls Bolton, the centre has enjoyed many successes. Approximately 750 visitors are welcomed each month through the varied community programme developed by All Souls Bolton. Local volunteers have given over 300 days to support this community centre and 11 work placements have been delivered.

Since the launch of All Souls’ church in 2014, local, regional, and national heritage sectors have undergone considerable changes.  Charities across the country find themselves under increased pressure to secure and retain funding. These pressures affect us all; however, the risks are more acute for a smaller, local charity.  As a result, All Souls Bolton has had to review its strategy and business plans to ensure the sustainability of the centre as a community asset.

This review was undertaken in partnership with CCT and All Souls Bolton, resulting in a mutual decision for the CCT to resume governance of the centre on 1st October 2017.  This approach seeks to secure the medium- and long-term future of All Souls’ church and its role in the local community.  This will involve some restructuring of the operations team at All Souls’; however, the CCT are working closely with the Trustees of All Souls Bolton to ensure a smooth transition to this new arrangement. CCT will continue the outstanding work of the All Souls Bolton charity over the last five years and is working to establish a local advisory group, as exists at many of its churches, to help provide input and buy in from the community and to help develop new partnerships and opportunities.

Crispin Truman, the CCT’s Chief Executive says, ‘I’m particularly proud of what’s been achieved at All Souls Bolton, one of CCT’s flagship regeneration projects.  This wonderful building is in a very disadvantaged area and it is asking a lot of the local community to run such a project singlehandedly, particularly in a time of financial stringency.   The support being provided by CCT and HLF over this period highlights the vital importance of national charities in ensuring the long-term sustainability of complex, community-led management of heritage.’

Mark Head, the Chair of All Souls Bolton says ‘All Souls has always been a unique enterprise, founded upon philanthropic and egalitarian principles. It stands as a beacon of challenge to ‘all souls’ to engage again in unity, heritage, well-being and understanding: Truly, All Souls for all souls’.