The St Mary's Development Project
The St Mary’s Development Project aims to secure the future of St Mary’s as a living church, serving the spiritual needs of all who pass by its doors, while also encouraging greater community use of our beautiful building. There are two aspects to the project:
Repairing and improving the church and its immediate surrounds will revitalize a key corner plot in the East Cliff Conservation Area. It will enable the church to offer flexible, affordable spaces for hire by community groups; provide toilets for the public under the ‘Use our loo’ scheme; and enhance the church’s attractiveness as a performance venue.
Support from Brighton and Hove City Council
The corner block to the west of the church is owned by Brighton and Hove City Council. The Council have agreed to lease it to St Mary’s at a peppercorn rent in return for our revitalizing it for maximum community benefit, including making the new toilets available to the public under the 'Use our loo' scheme. We are grateful to the Council for their support.
In April 2014, after two feasibility studies, St Mary’s appointed Nick Haseltine and John Bailey from the firm of Thomas Ford and Partners as Project Architects. Both Nick and John have an excellent record of building innovative yet respectful additions to listed places of worship. We are delighted that they wish to work with us on the project. John additionally works as our Inspecting Architect, which means that he advises us on how we must care for the existing building.
Heritage At Risk Register and National Lottery Heritage Fund
In October 2014 St Mary's was included on Historic England's Heritage At Risk Register as a building 'at immediate risk of further rapid deterioration'. Since then we have raised almost £500,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards the repair of the building, with another £100,000 coming from the National Churches Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Sussex Historic Churches Trust and the Wolfson Foundation. St Mary's and the Friends of St Mary's have added another £100,000, along with over £100,000 worth of volunteer labour. Together, this has enabled us to make comprehensive repairs to the west and south-facing elevations of the church, the two sides most seriously affected by salt and wind erosion. This has made a huge difference to the appearance and safety of the church and we are grateful to all our funders and volunteers for making this possible.
Fundraising for the new facilities and garden
Along with fundraising for our repairs, we are also fundraising to create our new facilities and garden. If you would like to help us breathe new life into St Mary's and its neighbourhood – to make it a real hub of the community – then please consider joining or donating to the Friends of St Mary’s.
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