St Augustine's is the largest public building in Alston and its spire is the most prominent feature. It is very significant in townscape terms, a focal point beside the cobbled main street which rises steeply as it passes the churchyard. The building is Grade II listed and was built in 1870 with the steeple completed in 1886, on a roughly circular site dating to medieval times. Its appearance is more typical of a Victorian urban church than might be expected in this rural location. The front walls and entrance gates are separately Grade II listed. Unique features include a clock which belonged to the Earl of Derwentwater (1767) and a particularly fine carillon. There are stained glass windows, memorials and graves that are historically significant. The churchyard is a significant open green space with mature trees in the otherwise mostly hard surfaced centre of Alston, most of which is a Conservation Area, currently designated 'at Risk' by Historic England. Alston is a characterful tourist destination and stands on the popular Coast to Coast cycle route.
The grant will help fund preparatory work for a project that intends to adapt the church for community activities, an arts/cultural hub, including exhibition space, heating, lighting, flexible meeting space, kitchen/toilet facilities and improved access.