The award given to Providence Chapel, Throwleigh, in Dartmoor, Devon was the Tourism: Open for Visitors Awards. The church won in the England category and as the UK overall winner.
Picking up the award on the night on behalf of the church team were Revd Chris Jackson, Margaret Allin and Ian Crawford.
The chapel is located in Dartmoor National Park and is one of the oldest chapels in the Circuit (1839). It benefits from being located on the Dartmoor Way. Going back a few years Providence only had four members and was facing real risk of closure.
Thanks to the small dedicated band of volunteers, Providence’s fortunes have been turned around. In 2022 they estimate they welcomed over 1,750 visitors through our doors. Providence’s policy is to open its chapel doors every day in Spring/Summer/Autumn and on Winter weekends.
The bold decision to launch a new programme of free open days has given the Chapel a sustainable future.
Hospitality lies at the heart of everything Providence stands for. Going back over 100 years, Providence pledged to “pay courteous attention to strangers”. Since then it has built up a lasting reputation for the welcome its Members and volunteers provide.
In presenting the award to the Providence Chapel, Canon Ann Easter said: “The judges loved the warmth in this application, they seem amazed by their success. They are clearly using local connections well and inspiring other churches – all without funding. They prove that even if you have something simple, you can draw in visitors and give a warm welcome if you understand what a warm welcome is.”
National Church Awards 2023 – Credit Mike Swift National Churches Trust. LEFT TO RIGHT: Hugh Dennis (comedian), Canon Ann Easter, Sarah Stewart (Trustee of the National Churches Trust), Margaret Allin (Providence Chapel, Throwleigh), Sandra Lynes-Timbrell (Director of Visitor Engagement at St Paul’s Cathedral), Revd Chris Jackson (Providence Chapel, Throwleigh) and Ian Crawford (Providence Chapel, Throwleigh).