A gravestone-free garden has been unveiled at All Saints Church in Halifax.
Concerned that the dark, 150 year old exterior and the gloomy graveyard was giving the wrong impression of the bright, reordered building, the church decided to create a Welcome Garden.
Without disturbing any remains, most of the gravestones were moved from the north graveyard to other areas around the church.
The new garden area has been grassed and planted ready for the formal opening next spring, while new hard surfaces and curved stone and wood seats have been constructed.
Eight local organisations have already expressed an interest in using the garden, including the neighbouring church school which has very little outdoor space of its own, plus art groups, children and young people’s groups, the elderly and the local hospital staff wellbeing team.
A church team has been formed to co-ordinate events and expand the church’s relationship with the community.
Project Manager and Reader Ian Byfield said: “The congregation and community have captured the vision of the Welcome Garden and we are confident it will make a major difference to our life and witness in this part of Halifax.”
Early in the new-year, new glass outer doors will be fitted, external lighting renewed and CCTV installed.
The project has been made possible through grants from the National Lottery Community Fund, Community Foundation of Calderdale, All Churches Trust, Bearders Trust; the Bishop’s Development Fund has also promised funds to complete the project.
In addition the church has raised more than £30,000 in donations and fund raising for the £70,000 project.