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 three 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 a safe, accessible toilet for the public during church opening hours; 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. We are grateful to the Council for their support.
In April 2014, after two feasibility studies, St Mary’s appointed the firm of Thomas Ford and Partners as Project Architects. John Bailey from Thomas Ford 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 carried out over £800,000 worth of repairs to our exterior, which has made a huge difference to the appearance and safety of the church. We are grateful to all our funders and volunteers. In particular, we acknowledge grants of almost £500,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and others totalling £200,000 from the National Churches Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Sussex Historic Churches Trust, Wolfson Foundation and the Government's Culture Recovery Fund. St Mary's and the Friends of St Mary's have contributed another £100,000.
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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