Heritage Group benefits from specialist support

St John’s Heritage Group was set up as a community group to plan and manage a large project based around St John’s Church, Hall Waberthwaite. Its remit is to raise funds for the major repairs and restoration needed to the ancient church, to conserve the site and to convert an existing building (known as The Old Laundry) into a useful community resource. As part of this the group is uncovering the history of not only the church site but also the hamlet of Hall Waberthwaite and looking to record and develop the ecology.  As the conversion project will involve disturbing the fabric of the old laundry building, the group will need to deal with any asbestos issues before proceeding.

Catherine Winzor from St. John’s Heritage Group said “We’ve had fantastic support from this very small community and a lot of interest from local organisations about our plans. Fundraising is hard and so Cumbria Exchange seemed like a brilliant idea. We requested support for an asbestos survey of both the church and the laundry building, knowing that we couldn’t start any work without one! It was very much a shot in the dark, but was actually very simple and, even better, successful!”

Catherine continued, “the offer came at a very good time for us when we were getting a bit discouraged with the difficulty of fundraising.  It means we have the documentation we need in place for when work starts and it means that there is one less bill which we will have to pay. We are extremely grateful for Franks Portlock’s support. They made all the arrangements very simple and everyone we dealt with at the company were pleasant and eager to help. The survey took almost a full day, and the report arrived quickly – with the really good news of no asbestos.”

Franks Portlock Consulting Ltd are an accredited asbestos testing and inspection body headquartered in the North East of England.
Drawing on more than a decade of experience, they offer a comprehensive range of asbestos services, including consultancy, inspection, testing and management. They have regional offices in London, Rosyth & Cumbria where they have been providing asbestos analytical services to Sellafield Ltd since 2014.This contract means they provide site wide support to Sellafield, its partners and suppliers for maintenance, site remediation and decommissioning.

The company have a Support Offered post on Cumbria Exchange and were contacted through the website by Catherine Winzor from the Heritage Fund Steering Group.

After discussing the scope of works with Catherine, Franks Portlock offered to carry out a Management Survey to St John’s Church & Refurbishment Survey to the Old Laundry Building free of charge. They offered this practical help as both surveys would not only would help move the conversion project forward, but would also assist the Church in its ongoing Health & Safety Management for visitors & those working in the building.

Lawrence Clack, Commercial Manager, Franks Portlock Consulting Ltd said “Working with Catherine & the team at St John’s Church was a great opportunity for us to use our, rather specialised, services to help make a difference to a fantastic local cause. A big thank you to Cumbria Exchange who helped bring us together & made the process so easy through their innovative platform.”

What was achieved?

An Asbestos Management Survey to St John’s Church & Refurbishment Survey to the Old Laundry Building.


The Management Survey assists with ongoing Health and Safety Management and the Refurbishment Survey is a necessary initial step before refurbishment can be undertaken.

Where can I find out about the parties involved?

St. John’s Heritage Group – Please contact via Cumbria Exchange Coordinator: info@cumbriaexchange.co.uk

Franks Portlock Ltd – http://franksportlock.co.uk/