Approved - 22 January 2010


Visitors to a Blyth church will now literally ‘see the light’ after a £5,000 grant helped to pay for the installation of a new, energy-efficient lighting system.

The grant, given by north east firm The Banks Group via its Banks Community Fund, covered half the cost of putting in the new lights at the town’s St Cuthbert’s Church, and matched the amount raised by parishioners for the project.

The new system is expected to cut the cost of lighting the church by up to 60 per cent, saving several hundred pounds every year, and uses 75 per cent less energy than the lights it has replaced.

And it is now hoped that the improved illumination in the church will encourage even more people from across the local community to make use of the facilities.

First established in 1752, St Cuthbert’s has occupied its current, Grade Two listed church since 1892, and hosts a number of concerts and charity events, as well as being regularly used for church functions.

It’s the second time that Banks has chosen to support a project at St Cuthbert’s, having provided a grant of more than £11,000 in 2006 to fund the installation of double glazing in the adjacent Church Hall.
Cecil Smith, vice chairman of St Cuthbert’s PCC, says: “We’d been concerned about both the state of the lighting system and the cost of running it, and knew we needed to upgrade it if we wanted to make the church a more attractive venue for the concerts and events that we hold.

“The installation of the new lighting has made a real difference, and everyone who uses the church has commented on how much brighter it is – and adding in the cost and environmental benefits of the system reinforces just what a big difference it is going to make.

“Banks’ continuing generosity will help even more people make even better use of the church facilities in the future, and we’re extremely grateful for their support.”

The Banks Group has operated in south east Northumberland since the 1980s.  It recently announced the start of work on a major regeneration scheme at the former Bates Colliery site in Blyth, and also operates the Shotton surface coal mine near Cramlington.

Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, adds: “Providing tangible support to communities where we have developments is a key part of our ‘Development With Care’ ethos.

“The new lighting has a big impact on an already-impressive building, and we hope it encourages even more people to make use of it.”

The Banks Community Fund is administered by the County Durham Community Foundation.  Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson on 0191 383 0055.
- ends -
For further press information, please contact Julian Christopher at Footprint Public Relations on 07891 005034 or via

Notes to editors
The Banks Group was founded in 1976 in County Durham.  It now employs 350 people across offices in County Durham, Hamilton and Chesterfield.  It specialises in major projects in the renewable energy, property, surface coal mining and waste management sectors.

Banks’ ‘Development With Care’ approach ensures sites are developed in close consultation with the community as well as carrying out extensive environmental assessments.