Colsterworth residents are celebrating the award of a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to help kick-start plans for a £750,000 learning centre in the village.
The Colsterworth Parochial Church Council has received the money to appoint an architect to advise on how best to restore the Newton Family Chapel and improve the building’s facilities.
The church council, Colsterworth parish council, and other residents have been working on the project since 2014, though formal fundraising for what may be a £750,000 scheme is still some time away.
Project leader Peter de Voil said: “The grant will enable us to get experts who will work out the costs and how to go forward. We hope it will allow us to go forward with applying for a larger grant for the main project.”
The Colsterworth Church Isaac Newton Project involves creating a learning centre at St John the Baptist Church, which is a listed building and one of the oldest churches in Lincolnshire. There would also be new toilets, a servery, new seating and improved heating and lighting.
Sir Isaac was baptised at the historic church and his family worshipped there, with his parents buried inside.
Part of the font, in which Sir Isaac was baptised, is still in use today and the church still has a sundial carved by him when he was just nine years old.
Peter said the project, which is supported by the Lincoln Diocese, would create a more flexible space for use by villagers for events and worshipping.
The National Lottery funded project would also explore options for a new heritage learning centre, which would focus on science and faith in Newton’s life and would encourage visits by school parties.
Peter added: We are delighted to have received this support from National Lottery players and hope that the project will lead to a building which will provide much needed facilities for members of the local community and a worthwhile educational experience for school children and visitors from home and abroad.”
Project details can be found at http://www.newtonlearningcentre.co.uk/