Do you know St Leonard’s in Yarpole? If not, its well worth a visit. In non COVID times it boasts a shop, post office and café and a full programme of events. It will be a centre for Yarpole Talk Community. The shop and Post Office remained open throughout the restrictions, proving to be a lifeline for local people together with a delivery service from the Good Neighbour Scheme for those who cannot leave their homes.

Photo: Andy Dolman

St Leonard’s is proud of its green credentials. It is recognised as an Eco Church, receiving a Silver Award from the sponsor Rocha. It goes without saying that to maintain St Leonard’s as the thriving heart of the village we need to have a sustainable and reliable heating system.

This is where HHCT comes in. We were one of the first churches to have a biomass boiler, but being a pioneer has its pitfalls and in in past few years we have spent an inordinate amount of money trying to keep it going. But we were fighting a losing battle; the boiler became dangerous and was condemned. We replaced it temporarily with an oil boiler, but we do not want to rely on fossil fuels. We decided to install an air source heat pump. Though initially not cheap, maintenance is easy and costs are predicable. We just needed to get the funding to pay for it. We applied to HHCT who awarded us a grant towards the costs, for which we give our gratitude and our thanks.

Having a reliable and consistent heating system will make all the difference to our ability to hire our space for concerts, fairs, exhibitions, classes – small and large groups. We have underfloor heating which makes the church cosy without being stuffy. We have lost a lot of income during the restrictions on usage but we look forward to a brighter 2021 with an eco-friendly new air source heat pump!

Barbara Nurse

Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust