Stottesdon · St Mary's Church
| Liz Hill

  Stottesdon Church Development Project


Brief:  Activity Plan Consultant



1. Introduction


Stottesdon Church (‘the PCC’) has secured Development Phase funding (£27.8k) from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (‘NLHF’) to progress plans for wider, sustainable community use of the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church. These plans are to be enabled by repairs and improvements to the heritage building, together with new activities and new interpretation of the context and significance of the church and its heritage treasures.

   The PCC wishes to appoint a Consultant to act as a ‘critical friend’ and supporter during the completion of an Activity Plan, comprising community engagement and action plan (see Scope of Work, 3.3 below, for more detail) which are critical elements of the Delivery Phase (‘Round 2’) application (c.£232k) to NLHF.


2. Background:


2.1 The PCC is a statutory, volunteer-led charity which works with the part- time, salaried Rector to provide secular and pastoral support to everyone within the parish (pop:787) together with the celebration of life-events and festivals and of weekly church services available to all within the community.

      The charity is responsible for the care and maintenance of the listed building; through the Churchwarden, the PCC is accountable for these tasks - for which no funding is received from the wider church nor Government.

      Chris Tibbits is Project Lead and reports to the PCC’s Standing Committee (which has the project oversight and progress monitoring remit).


2.2 The Listed Building

St Mary’s Parish Church dates from before the Norman Conquest. Whilst

it has been altered organically over almost 1000 years, it retains many original features and treasures. It is Grade 1 listed (‘of national importance’). 





2.3 Project Vision

The project’s vision is for the PCC to secure essential roof and other repairs to facilitate, enable and sustain community uses of the building alongside the preservation, promotion and interpretation of this important heritage asset..


       The Stottesdon Church Heritage Project will:


  1. Undertake priority repairs and fabric safeguarding to the building;
  2. Enhance user welcome, and reduce carbon impact, through improvements to heating and lighting;
  3. Facilitate use of the church by the thriving village School, both for core curricula activities and for the performance of music and drama;
  4. Enable greater use of the building by the wider community, through an seasonal programme of public events and activities;
  5. Enable the PCC to develop heritage-led tourism and local engagement  through volunteering opportunities and heritage interpretation activities.


2.4 Heritage Themes

Using informal soundings with residents and visitors alike, we have scoped areas of heritage interpretation and learning that we wish to develop:

  1. explore why a small rural village has such a large church and discover its former role as the market town ‘caput’ of an Anglo-Saxon Hundred;
  2. understand how the church was changed as the generations invested in creating new spaces and installing new artefacts;
  3. using the built-environment, explain how the village grew, how people lived and worked, and how learning at church and then school flourished.



2.5 Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During the months of Government restrictions imposed to help tackle the pandemic, the PCC has developed new ways of working – with weekly church services becoming online ‘Worship at Home’ and pastoral support being offered ‘over garden gates’ or via telephonic and other media. These new means of ‘doing church’ have reached many more folk than normally participate in services and other events. 


      As the lockdown restrictions continue to be eased or managed in the weeks ahead, we anticipate continuing provision of online and remote ways of working in parallel with a fuller resumption of services and activities in the church. Therefore we are keen to hear how potential Activity Planners would propose to react to this situation in terms of how best to consult and test ideas.





3. Activity Plan Brief


3.1 Our Aspirations

Our aspiration is for an engagement programme which excites local interest,

and relates the heritage to people’s real lives.


The engagement programme will achieve the following outcomes:

  1. identify opportunities for the recruitment and training of volunteers who will acquire new skills as heritage researchers/writers and guides for heritage tours 
  2. research, record and present the histories of people who have lived and worked over the years in Stottesdon;
  3. work with local residents and visitors to explore and to celebrate the people and places that define the community – past, present and future;
  4. build a long-lasting resource for local community groups, the village school and researchers by discovering land re-telling local stories relating to the heritage themes (2.4 above).


The programme is a core element of the project and it’s sustainability,  promoting interest in the heritage and showcasing the building as a welcoming place which encourages people to actively participate.


3.2 The Brief

The consultant, as ‘critical friend’ reviewer of draft materials, will support the production of an engagement programme that meets NLHF Activity Plan requirements, for submission with the second round (c.£232k) funding application to NLHF in November 2021. This will include:

  1. The review and development of existing engagement and activity proposals, and the devising and testing of further plans and activities to achieve the project’s intended outcomes;
  2. An overview of our current audiences and activities;
  3. Research and consultation with stakeholders, partners and potential audiences;
  4. Production of a set of principles for our engagement work as a means of testing that this is of high quality, meets the needs of our audiences, and is inspired by and builds upon Stottesdon’s heritage;
  5. A description of the activities with supporting rationale;
  6. A costed Action Plan designed to deliver the engagement programme;
  7. A framework for monitoring and evaluating project outcomes;  and
  8. Proposals for sustaining the activities after the NLHF funded project.


The plans must comply with current NLHF requirements, as set out in their Activity Plan Guidance. The engagement programme must align with our project vision and it should consistently focus on ensuring people gain novel insights into, and develop new ways of using, the heritage assets.



3.3 Scope of Work

The successful applicant will report to and act as reviewer/’critical friend’ to the Project Lead, working with him (and other project partners as appropriate) to facilitate and review completion of the following tasks:



  1. Review existing and potential audiences and identify others.


Review and Research Practice

  1. Review, reflect and advise on planning work to date with reference to relevance, resources and cost profile.
  2. Recommend research case studies, good practice to underpin plans.



  1. Identification of principles for our engagement and education work as a means of testing that this is of high quality, meets the needs of our audiences, and is inspired by and builds upon the Stottesdon heritage;



  1. Review proposed partners and suggest others for project delivery.


Support Engagement Plan development

  1. Scope and shape an engagement plan for our target audiences which sets out a clear rationale for the activities.
  2. Coordinate the delivery of consultative and any pilot activities, in collaboration with project partners, to test viability.
  3. Ensure the Plan proposes the most effective means of achieving engagement, learning and participation by priority audiences.



  1. Review current interpretive proposals and identify others to reflect the project’s heritage themes.



  1. Propose how best to engage existing volunteers with heritage and scope opportunities to attract new volunteers.



  1. Suggest a sustainable basis on which the development and delivery of learning outcomes for different audiences can be based.



  1. Review draft Evaluation plans to ensure that the project can be monitored through delivery, with outputs and outcomes measured so that, where necessary, plans are adjustable to optimise their successful achievement.



  1. The successful applicant will submit regular reports and attend Project and NLHF progress meetings as required.




3.4 Consultant: Person Specification


The successful applicant will demonstrate:

  1. Experience of working with non-heritage, volunteer-led organisations
  2. Track record of preparing and delivering successful engagement plans and audience development/activity plans
  3. Methodological approach for delivering an effective engagement programme including consultation with stakeholders and audiences
  4. Clear understanding of NLHF processes, particularly activity planning
  5. Practical experience of working with local groups and communities
  6. Understanding of formal and informal learning settings and heritage
  7. Experience of developing heritage themes and partnership programmes
  8. Experience of planning and developing public programmes
  9. Understanding of delivering monitoring and evaluation frameworks



4. Terms of Contract & Fee


The Consultant will be appointed early July 2021 and achieve satisfactory completion of the tasks (3.3 above) in good time for the Development Phase Review meeting in September 2021.

      The total budget available for this piece of work is ±£3k.



5. Application Requirements


In responding to this invitation, applicants should pay particular attention to paragraphs 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4 above and provide a summary of relevant evidence of their qualifications, track-record and experience.

    The PCC is especially keen to learn what the applicant considers are the principal opportunities and challenges arising in working with a project of this scope and short timescale.    How would you tackle these issues?



6. Application Submission [AMENDED TIMELINE 27.6.21]


Applications, including summary information (as per para 5 above) must be made by email to

by Saturday 3rd July 2021.

      Short-listed applicants will be invited to a telephone or Zoom discussion/interview, planned for Wednesday 7th July.  


We intend to confirm an appointment that day in anticipation of a start-up  

meeting to be scheduled on or soon after Monday 12th July 2021.